ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester City School District held a public meeting Monday evening to discuss concerns parents have raised related to bus travel times, efficient use of current school buildings, and neighborhood schools (boundaries where students attend the school closest to their home).
In other words, it was a conversation on zoning reconfiguration.
Picture the district on a map – divided into three zones. Students are assigned schools based on where they live in each zone. These zones also determine transportation lines.
RCSD Deputy Superintendent Genelle Morris says the district wants to re-examine the map after parents raised concerns of equity and accessibility. Parents say they want to remove barriers that stand in the way of sending their children to the school buildings they prefer, with the programs they want.
“For example, parents have raised there might be a school you want your student to attend, but it’s closer to the home, and because of current policies and laws, we don’t offer transportation necessarily to a school of preference,” Morris said.
The conversation Monday evening will be the first step in discussing if and how can the district can remove these barriers parents may be feeling.
Adam Urbanski, president of Rochester Teacher’s Association, criticizes the effort, saying he simply doesn’t trust it.
“They are determined to make program cuts to close schools a year from now, and they want to use these forums as justification for school closings,” he said. Urbanski says he also believes the messaging put out by the district has been too vague.
Morris says this is simply a response to parent concerns and systemic barriers. No decisions will be made in the immediate future or school year – it’s merely discussion.
“We are going to ask the public to weigh in and let us know if we are meeting their needs,” said Morris.
Right now the district says the most important part of it all – keeping communication open and honest with parents.
The idea came about by Dr. Shelley Jallow, a state appointed monitor this school-year in overseeing the districts finances and academics.
Watch the full zoning meeting here.