Assemblymember Bronson: State Budget Includes Funding, Independent Monitor for RCSD

Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) announced that $35 million in additional gap funding for the Rochester City School District has been approved in the final state budget to help the district address its multimillion-dollar current operating deficit. Alongside the gap funding, the budget legislation provides for an independent monitor to provide oversight, guidance and technical assistance related to district finances and its academic programs.

“Today is a good day for the children of the Rochester City School District. For far too long, our students have faced barriers that prevents their access to a learning environment that gives them the tools and resources to build a bright future,” Bronson said.

“RCSD has repeatedly faced financial and academic performance problems, and students have borne the brunt of this longstanding situation,” Bronson noted.

“In a difficult year, and facing a public health and economic crisis, we at the State have put our Rochester children first to provide the dollars necessary to aid students and provide them with an opportunity to a quality education ,” Bronson added.

“In addition to the $35 million spin-up aid funding, the district through this budget legislation will benefit from the services of a monitor, a person with a strong background, experience and knowledge in school finances and academic programs. The monitor is charged to provide much needed oversight as well as guidance and assistance that will help the Superintendent and school board to move our school district back on track to a path of educational prosperity for our children. These changes are a strong step toward revitalizing our schools,” Bronson continued.

The budget legislation requires the development of a financial plan and an academic improvement plan, the latter being based on the distinguished educators’ recommendations. The monitor and school district shall seek input from the district’s residents, students, parents, employees, board members and the administration through the required public hearings. Thus, honoring local control and partnership of our community and families.

The monitor shall also assist in resolving any disputes and conflicts between the superintendent and the school board and among the members of the school board.

“Working with my colleagues we are taking steps to secure a brighter educational future for our children,” Bronson said. “There are many folks that I want to thank for this remarkable achievement but first and foremost I want to thank the students and their parents. Without their passion and strong voices, this funding may never have happened. From the halls of the Clara Barton school, to East High School, and the State Capitol itself, I met with students and they expressed their love for school and learning.”

“I want to also thank the dedicated faculty and staff of RCSD, Bronson said. “They have been on the front lines of our children’s educations and I know they are always committed to step up, role-up-their-sleeves and get to work for our children. And finally, without the unwavering leadership of our superintendent, Terry Dade and his team, this commitment of funding from the state would not have happened.”