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Overspending at Rochester City School District laid out at board meeting

Kaci Jones
Updated: October 10, 2019 09:42 AM
Created: October 08, 2019 11:20 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade laid out $30.1 million dollars of overspending in a 21-slide presentation at a budget meeting Tuesday evening.

"Underbudgeting is a key area that we need to investigate further," Dade said.

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In the presentation. Dade said there was underbudgeting in several areas like BOCES special education services, charter school tuition, self-funded health insurance, substitute teachers, retirement benefits, and transportation.

"The needs of our students are quite complex," Dade said. "It's about making sure we're providing the adequate support necessary for their achievement with limited resources."

Data shows the district has lost more than a quarter of the student population in 17 years while adding more than 1064 staff to the team.

Board of Education President Van White says Chief Financial Officer Everton Sewell certified the nearly one billion dollar budget earlier this year. Sewell submitted his resignation letter Tuesday.

"We rely on those folks to do their jobs," White said. "[On] May 14, as many of you reported, the CFO told us the budget would be balanced at the end of the year."

White says policies have been changed to pay closer attention to finances.

"During the course of the year people spend out of different pockets and pots of money," White said. "We want to make sure when they come to us, not only are they saying we need this for instructional purposes or building purposes, but that we have the money in the account."

The overspending has brought the district's saving's account to negative $8.9 million. To close the gap, Dade says there's already a hiring freeze, and he's looking at reducing professional development, summer school and more.

"I'm committed to looking at every single possibility that's out there to decrease this budget deficit before I look at laying off any staff members in RCSD," Dade said.

A replacement for the CFO has not been named at this time. The State Comptroller's Office continues their own audit to figure out how the overspending happened.


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