Court rules against city for a second time in RCSD referendum lawsuit


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A state appellate court ruled in favor of the Rochester City School District in its battle against the city of Rochester Wednesday. The city appealed the original decision last month, which also ruled in favor of the RCSD.

The RCSD sued the city to stop a state referendum on a possible state takeover of the district from going on the November ballot.

The court said the referendum the city wants to hold is advisory and has no legal effect. They also said a local government can’t legislate in areas where the state has control.

This lawsuit stems from the city’s effort to put a referendum on the November ballot. Mayor Lovely Warren wanted the state to take over the school district. The district argued all along that a referendum is non-binding and would have no impact on a possible state takeover. The state legislature would have to be the one to call for it.

School board president Van White said a judge cannot solve any of our community’s problems.

“While I have great respect and admiration for what these courts do, let’s not get it twisted. They cannot resolve the challenges that our children face and I think they know that,” said White.

Before the decision was made, he told News 8 this outside the courtroom:

“People should not misunderstand what ultimately is gonna happen. We’re going to respect what the decision of the court is but ultimately we have to respect that we are all members of this community and we have a co-equal responsibility to get it right.”

Mayor Lovely Warren said this in a statement:

“Our children’s education remains the key to a better and stronger city. Today’s decision does not weaken my resolve to fix a broken system and provide our kids a fighting chance at life. We will continue to demand our state legislators act, and work locally to realize the distinguished educator’s plan throughout our school district. Through this work we will make sure the voices and ideas of parents, grandparents and students are heard. I am committed to working and finding common ground with all those willing to put the needs of our children first. Together, we can still deliver the change that builds better schools, a better city and a better community for all.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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