State lawmakers give mixed reactions on mayor's RCSD plan

June 10, 2019 06:28 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- There is a mixed reaction from those who would need to write and pass the legislation necessary for a five-year state takeover of the Rochester City School District.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has announced her plans to add a referendum to the November ballot asking city residents whether the New York State Education Department should temporarily take over the district. But even if it passes, a legislative change at the state level is still needed to allow it. 


On Monday, News10NBC asked members of the Rochester delegation whether they're on board.  

News10NBC's Jennifer Lewke: "Where do you stand on the mayor's plan?"

Senator Rich Funke: "Where I stand is, the City of Rochester residents put the school board in place. It should be up to the City of Rochester residents to take them out for a period of time. I think something drastic needs to be done…allowing the superintendent to have extraordinary powers and be able to implement his plan, just like any coach. If you're coaching an NFL team and you had seven different coaches in 10 years and you had interference from the owners along the way as they're trying to implement their game plan, I don't think you'd be very successful."

Lewke: "Has the mayor asked you to write the legislation that would allow this if the referendum were to pass?"

Funke: "Senator (Joe) Robach and I are looking at the legislation right now. We'll figure that out this week when we get back to Albany."

Not every member of the Rochester delegation is on board, at least not yet.  

Lewke: "Where do you stand on the mayor's plan?"

Assemblywoman Jamie Romeo: "Um, so... what happened is the SED [state education] commissioner has not released a plan. There were emails that were released about concepts that certain members were a part of the conversations but the SED commissioner has not, to date, publicly endorsed a plan, publicly proposed a plan and we don't know what SED's position is. I don't think it necessarily appropriate to put a question to voters for a plan that does not exist right now."

Lewke: "What did they [NYSED] tell you they were going to do?"

Assemblywoman Romeo: "Those were part of a lot of hypotheticals. There's been nothing put in writing so it's one of those, I don't see a plan until I see it in writing."

Assemblyman Harry Bronson has written legislation that he plans to introduce that does not call for a state takeover.  

News10NBC planned to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo about this while he was in Rochester for an event on Monday but he left his event without taking questions from reporters.

A spokesman for the governor said he plans to meet with Mayor Warren and a delegation of our local state lawmakers in the coming weeks to discuss the issue.  


Jennifer Lewke

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