UR interested in taking over East High School

Updated: 05/07/2014 6:15 AM
Created: 05/06/2014 7:22 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

One of our area's most prestigious universities is on board to try to save one of our most troubled high schools.

On Tuesday, the Rochester City School Board held a meeting to talk about the future of East High School. One plan to help save it involves the University of Rochester. If this plan is chosen, the University of Rochester would ultimately take over East High School in an attempt to turn it around.

The Rochester City School Board has to agree that this is in fact the best option for East High. They also must get approval from the state to extend their May 15 deadline. Right now, that’s the drop dead date for the district to announce they have a plan in place. 

This does not mean the University of Rochester will take over. They say they have serious interest in taking over at East High, but they want the state to give them more time to come up with a plan for how to help turn the school around.

Paul Jonasse said, “I think it is great because they are local. They have a strong interest in this and I think it is fantastic.”

East High parents, teachers and staff applauded the announcement that the University of Rochester is throwing its hat in the ring, when it comes to a "new" East High. So what does the university have to offer?

Stephen Uebbing, University of Rochester Professor, said, “I think we can offer some of our best thinking and some of the best thinking nationally. We can reach out to our colleges around the county. We can offer an inclusive process that values the input and opinions of the people in the community.”

The school board voted to ask the state for an extension so the University of Rochester can come up with a plan to make serious and lasting changes to East. 

Bolgen Vargas, Rochester City School Superintendent, said, “We’re doing due diligence in the sense that we are bringing together resources and planning rather than just saying we are changing for changing's sake.”

This has been a long process for parents and staff too.

The University of Rochester sent a 14 page letter to the New York State Department of Education. It outlines that they would need a year of planning and would take control over East High in the 2015-2016 school year.

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