RCSD proposes closing, merging schools to counter declining enrollment

RCSD

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small’s new proposal would close three schools and merge several others in an attempt to combat reduced enrollment numbers.

According to district officials, the Rochester City School District has experienced a decline of approximately 4,600 enrolled students since the 2015-16 school year.

The proposal was presented in Tuesday’s school board meeting. The changes would lay out the structure for the upcoming academic year, from 2022 to 2023.

Adam Urbanski, President of the Rochester Teachers’ Association, spoke out against the proposal Tuesday night on Twitter:

Under the new proposal, the following would take effect:

CLOSURES

  • Leadership Academy for Young Men in Charlotte
  • Virgil I. Grissom School No. 7
  • Flower City School No. 54

RE-LOCATIONS

  • RISE Community School No. 106 would relocate to current School No. 7 campus, which is located in the Northwest Zone and would serve Pre-K – 5th grade students. 
  • Adlai E. Stevenson School No. 29 would relocate to Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 at 465 Seward Street. That school would become a PreK – 5 building.
  • Montessori Academy School No. 53 would be relocated to Flower City School No. 54 campus. That school would become a Pre-K – 5 building.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne School No. 25 would relocate to Andrew J. Townson School No. 39 at 145 Midland Avenue. School becomes a PreK – 5 building. 
  • Northeast College High School relocates to Leadership Academy for Young Men in Charlotte with a social justice focus.
  • Program at Rochester International Academy would relocate to Wilson Magnet High School at 501 Genesee Street. New comer students in 6th – 8th grade would move to a middle school model.

MERGES

  • Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No.19 students would merge with students from School No. 29.
  • Andrew J. Townson School No. 39 would merge with students from Nathaneil Hawthorne School No. 25. 

As far as transitions go, the proposal would also change the Dr. Alice Holloway Young School of Excellence to a 6 – 8 building from a 7 – 8 building.

Current students affected by the three school closures would have to make a choice over what building to move to. Those switching school locations would need to utilize the district’s ‘school of choice process.’

In her proposal to the district, Myers-Small cited issues with building capacity and condition, access to programs and 12 schools with receivership status.

The total current enrollment for RCSD is 23,865. Yet, its building capacity accommodates 34,240 students.

Myers-Small pointed to better access in academic opportunities for students and ensured the need for change.

“I’ve had multiple conversations with our scholars and these decisions are based in part on those conversations,” Myers-Small said. “I know these decisions are difficult be we are trying to figure out the best ways to support the scholars in the Rochester City School District.”

In addition, adoption of the new proposal would mean the district’s current configuration of grade levels would also be altered. RCSD would be condensed to PreK – 5, 6 – 8, and 9 – 12.

These changes are pending board approval. A public hearing on these recommendations will be held on Wednesday, December 15.


Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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