Source: RCSD names new superintendent, former Brockport superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District has found its new superintendent, according to a source close to the selection process.

Former Brockport Central School District superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small will be the new leader of a district facing an estimated $87 million budget deficit, the source says.

The RCSD superintendent position became vacant two weeks ago when Terry Dade accepted the superintendent position in the Cornwall Central School District in New York state’s Hudson Valley region.

MORE | How RCSD got here: Timeline of events in district’s budget crisis

According to the source, Dr. Myers-Small will be hired on a permanent basis, and not in an interim position.

Back in December, Dr. Myers-Small left Brockport to become State Assistant Commissioner of School Reform and Innovation, a job designed to work to bring change to low performing districts through the state, including RCSD. Dr. Myers-Small began in Brockport back in July of 2012, becoming the first African-American woman to become a superintendent of schools in Monroe County.

Upon news of the selection, New York State Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-138) released this statement:

“The reporting of the upcoming appointment of Lesli Myers-Small as school superintendent — the first woman of color to hold this position — is great news for the Rochester community.  We need a permanent superintendent at the helm to provide certainty for our families and get our schools back on track. It’s no small task, but I’m encouraged that she’s stepped up to the plate and is willing to take this on. Her depth of experience with struggling schools makes her exceptionally qualified to take on this role.

That said, we still need an independent monitor appointed immediately. We must have someone with a direct connection to the State Education Department to provide necessary fiscal and academic oversight, including public hearings on RCSD’s finances. It is vital that we act quickly so we can put our kids on a path to success. This matter cannot wait.”

MORE | How RCSD got here: Timeline of events in district’s budget crisis

Also Thursday, the RCSD board voted to pass am amended budget for the next academic year, while still working with an estimated $87 million budget gap. Some leaders in the district say they are not pleased with the proposed cuts.

The board had to size up and decide on tens of millions of dollars in cuts across the district. Everything from teaching positions, to school closures, to cuts at East High, and many programs students have said are essential to their learning. 

MORE | Revised RCSD budget calls for hundreds of layoffs, $6M funding reduction for East High

Teacher’s Union President Adam Urbanski says the District is in a “free fall”, and is hoping teaching positions are retained for the sake of stability. As he’s said for a long time now, “cut from the top” in administration, and leave the faculty put. He says there’s a chance the board will reject the budget and go back to revising it, something he says is very much needed for the students. 

“They’ve made some cuts, but they have not made enough cuts. For example, more than 84% of all the cuts are teachers. That doesn’t make sense. Teacher’s don’t make up 84% of the budget. So, protecting the bureaucracy and the administrative overhead costs at the expense of cutting real close to the classroom and cutting the programs and the services and the teachers that the most vulnerable students need is not a good approach,” says Urbanski.

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

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