ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade introduced part of his long term plan to reduce the looming budget for the district.
Dade proposed a Pre-Kindergarten proposal shift to move students from community based organizations, to RCSD.
He argues that his plan to boost enrollment will prevent the district from getting in a similar situation year after year.
The school currently needs $35 million just for this school year alone. Dade said for the 2021 school year the deficit is closer to $55-$60 million.
“We can no longer proceed with the status quo in the Rochester City School District. You can’t recoup upward of $120 million in two years and expect things to go the same as it’s been for 10 years.”
According to Dade, data shows that if a student starts with RCSD in pre-k, that student is twice as likely to continue with the district rather than going into a charter school. In the district, 61% of its students are educated by CBOs and 39% are education by the district.
Dade argues that number should be flipped, similar to neighboring city Buffalo where 81% are educated by the Buffalo district and 19% by CBOs.
“This proposal isn’t an attack on CBOs, it’s getting that shared model, much more of what we should be doing in the Rochester City School District,”
When asked which and how many CBOs would have to sever ties with the district, Dade said there’s much to be determined.
Dade said there are some CBOs that don’t want to be with the district anymore and are looking elsewhere anyways. “Maybe it’s not an elimination, but a decrease in number of seats. My plan does include offering enrichment activities and services for the students by way of art services, athletics, physical education, all the way through 6 p.m.”
Dade referenced his previous work in D.C. public schools as a principal where he opened 4 pre-k programs that boosted the wait list to 400 students in one year.
“CBOs and RCSD both are evaluated and are deemed high quality. We have to find a good symbiotic relationship.”
On Thursday, Assemblyman David Gantt said he would support RCSD’s request for state funding if, and only if, the district appoints a fiscal and academic monitor.
“I welcome that (fiscal) monitor to come to the district and help us get out of this year to year grind.”
When asked about an academic monitor, Dade said there is a New York State Education Department team that meets with the district weekly so he said he already has that structure.