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The Rochester City School District is reaching out to the community to help close a massive $50 million dollar budget deficit, "it's a serious problem but it's not a crisis," explained Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent of the Rochester City School District.
The district is holding three public meetings before coming up with a final budget. Parents were given a brief presentation on the district's financial standings, then they split up into groups to offer specific solutions related to a variety of topics. One of the issues is facilities, "part of this current budget called for about four million dollars in savings on facilities," explained Dr. Vargas, "and the way that we can accomplish that is by moving away from renting space that we don't need."
Giann Carlo Giannini likes the idea of the savings, "ensuring that our kids get a good education and that the classrooms are staffed appropriately and effectively to get that education not only in some of the basic core curriculum type things that the district is going to but also the extra curricular areas," explained Giannini.
Students in the Rochester City School District are at a disadvantage with the amount of time they spend in the classroom. Dr. Vargas wants to change that, "all our students get one hour less of instruction on Wednesday they also get on our calendar we have less instructional days then, lets say, Irondequoit."
Right now eight schools are getting support to extend the school day. Leonard Brock would like to see more money budgeted to extend expanded learning programs in other schools, "I know there's a focus on the eight schools and there's a need to concentrate resources but I'm just curious as it relates to the additional schools," explained Brock.
Parents say it's not about the money, it's about trying things to get more kids to graduate and raise their test scores.
The next budget open house meeting will be held on February 12th at 6:30 at the RCSD headquarters. Another meeting will be held on February 26th, at Montessori Academy at Dr. Freddie Thomas, at 625 Scio St., at 6:00 p.m.