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Van White

James Brown / WXXI

On Thursday, Rochester residents are expected to have their first chance to talk to Shelley Jallow, the state-appointed monitor for the city school district.

Jallow was appointed last month 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 for funding, until the state stepped in. Jallow told the board last week that one of her chief concerns center’s on the district’s strategic planning. 

James Brown

The Rochester City School Board adopted a budget Thursday night for the upcoming school year. The plan was designed to bridge an $87 million budget gap. It passed by a 6-1 vote with Commissioner Beatriz LeBron voting no. 

The plan cuts more than 300 teaching and staffing positions, and closes five elementary schools. One of those school will be converted into a Pre-K center and another into a middle school, among numerous other changes.

RCSD nears budget deal

Apr 29, 2020
Rochester City School District

The Rochester City School District is nearing a budget deal after making many changes to outgoing superintendent Terry Dade’s budget on Tuesday night. 

Unlike previous presentations, this one didn’t have Dade’s name on it and it was presented by Deputy Superintendent Lynda Quick and Chief Financial Officer Robert Franklin. 

NYS Comptroller's Audit of the Rochester City School District

About six years ago, Rochester’s Board of Education received a presentation from former Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, and then-Chief Financial Officer William Ansbrow. 

Ansbrow said: “If ‘this’ continues, the district’s finances will hit rock bottom within three to five years.” 

Rochester Board of Education President Van White said he was “blindsided” by the resignation of superintendent Terry Dade. 

White said the board learned of Dade’s desire to leave the district on Wednesday shortly before it became public. Dade cited conflict with the board as the reason for his departure. He’s leaving on July 23, to run Cornwall’s school district downstate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that hospitals, local governments and schools may face a 20% cut in state aid without more help from the federal government. 

In the case of education, Cuomo has four windows to assess state revenue and perhaps take back some money from this year’s budget.

Citizen Action of New York’s Stevie Vargas said that schools can’t handle any more cuts

Provided

A deal has been struck to bail out Rochester City Schools after the district overspent by more than $60 million last school year, which caused the district to lay off more than 150 staffers in December. 

Assemblyman Harry Bronson said a fiscal and academic monitor will be appointed to the district for the next three years. In exchange, the district will receive a $35 million loan from future state aid, known as a spin up, which will be paid back over at least 30 years. Without this agreement, Bronson said the district may have been allowed to seek a line of credit, but with a much shorter repayment window. 

Emily Hunt / for WXXI News

The Rochester Board of Education has voted in favor of Superintendent Terry Dade’s proposal to revamp the City School District’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten program

After a spirited debate Thursday night, commissioners Ricardo Adams, Willa Powell, Natalie Sheppard, Amy Maloy and Board President Van White voted for the proposal. Beatriz LeBron and Cynthia Elliott voted against it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal released on Tuesday makes one brief reference to the Rochester City School District, indicating that he would like to see legislation establishing a monitor for the district. 

Assemblyman Harry Bronson has been among the area officials pushing for someone to keep track of the district’s finances, after problems with the prior budget and the current spending plan have caused a potential $65 million budget gap.

The Democrat was pleased to see Cuomo put some language in the budget plan about a state-appointed monitor. 

New York State Education Department

 

Interim New York State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe announced Thursday that Rochester had the biggest year-to-year increase in graduation rates among the big five school districts. These numbers are based on August 2019 graduates, which Tahoe said the department bases its metrics on.

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