ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District Board of Education and the Office of Parent Engagement held a budget training event on Thursday at East High. The session included a presentation on how to read the district’s budget section by section.
“I think the most benefit that will come with this is a greater sense of understanding,” says Van White, School Board President.
White says parents within the district want transparency after last year’s budget shortfall. He says tonight’s forum delivered that. “That’s critical when you’re facing a crisis. Part of the problem with a crisis like this, or any crisis is, people don’t have information,” he adds.
The major crisis in the next budget: securing $35 million dollars in funds from Albany, or face the possibility of laying off 800 positions.
“Without that $35 million, it would be devastating. For this district that would be very destabilizing,” says Eamonn Scanlon with the district. He says there is no time to entertain a “Plan B”. The state has to come through.
Parents tonight wanted to know how the district will stay afloat next year, and improve education for students.
“When you put a budget together, everything has to be on the table. Everything,” says Pastor Marilyn Cunningham, whose grandkids are in RCSD. “Show me. And when you show me, we shouldn’t have the mess that we’re having now, you know, getting rid of good teachers,” she adds.
“There’s a lot of double speak, so these platforms are incredibly important to really break it down for community members,” says parent Stevie Vargas.
Van White hopes the talking points tonight from this training can spread beyond East High. “There’s a message here not only for the board, but there’s a message here for City Council and there’s a message here for folks in Albany,” he says.
The District’s budget will be reviewed at a follow-up-training event on March 25th after the Superintendent releases the proposed budget on March 17th. All are invited to attend.