Rochester City School Board

Some students in the Rochester City School District are back in the classroom, in-person, despite pushback from the Rochester Teachers Association.

Parents in favor of in-person learning join us to talk about why they feel it's essential for their young learners. We're also joined by RTA president Adam Urbanski and RCSD School Board member and parent Amy Maloy, who share why they support the RTA's position on learning remaining virtual until 70 percent of teachers are vaccinated.

Our guests:

  • Gipsy Escobar, RCSD parent who supports in-person learning at this stage
  • Leslie Knox, RCSD parent who supports in-person learning at this stage
  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Amy Maloy, RCSD School Board member and parent

Rochester City School District

Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small laid out a plan Thursday night to reopen school buildings for city school students. All students have attended classes remotely so far this school year.

Students would have the option to attend school in person a few days a week and continue remotely on the other days. It would start with elementary school students with middle and high school students  phased in later. The plan is subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Former Urban League CEO William Clark has joined the Rochester Board of Education. 

Clark was CEO of the Urban League of Greater Rochester for 38 years. He replaces Natalie Sheppard, who left the board for a position at the Monroe County Board of Elections in August.

Rochester City School District / Provided

The total known deficit for the Rochester City School District is $117 million but during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Chief Financial Officer Carleen Piece said the number could be much higher.

Pierce said the bulk of that debt includes the money borrowed on the district’s behalf by the city of Rochester as it waits for funding from grants, the city, the state and others.

She said costs for health insurance, workmen’s compensation, transportation and other areas are concerning. She also said other payments may come due shortly. Pierce said the district was overpaid roughly $12 million for a quality school bond, they’ll have to pay that back.

James Brown / WXXI

Tamiko Matthews received her second pink slip from the Rochester City School District this week. The 40-something mother of one has worked for the district for just two years. 

"What am I going to be able to do next, after this?” Matthews asked. “Am I gonna be able to come back to my job or continuously look for another job?”

The Rochester City School District is looking to implement substantial budget cuts to deal with the current financial situation.

Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small outlined the changes during an update she provided to the Board of Education’s Finance Committee on Tuesday evening.

Myers-Small outlined what the district says is a conservative approach to spending and talked about a structural budget deficit projected at $59.3 million during this fiscal year and a budget gap for the 2021-22 school year projected at $74 million.

Rochester City School District

Rochester City School Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small introduced a hybrid plan Thursday for reopening district buildings. Last school year, all students finished the year learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A return-to-school plan from all districts was ordered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

A new survey from the Rochester City School District asks students, parents and staff their concerns and questions about reopening schools. 

“The survey was released to help better understand the concerns and/or questions individuals have regarding the reopening of schools this fall,” a statement from the district said.

The feedback is expected to be used along with guidance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and national, state and local health officials. 

Emily Hunt / for WXXI News

Rochester residents had their first chance to talk to Shelley Jallow Thursday. She’s the state appointed monitor for the city school district.

Jallow was appointed as part of a deal with the state to bail out the district in April. The district was short more than $30 million and was running low on options. 

The state education department has approved a continued relationship between the University of Rochester and the Rochester City School District. 

The university has run East High School in partnership with the district for the last five years. The Rochester Board of Education, in a split vote, approved an extension a few months ago.