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RCSD board commissioners discuss plans to fix budget issue

Kaci Jones
Updated: October 23, 2019 08:42 AM
Created: October 22, 2019 10:06 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District officials are still dealing with the fallout of millions of dollars in overspending. 

District officials say in the 2018-2019 school year, officials spent $22 million more than budgeted, then emptied $8 million from savings to cover it.

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At Tuesday night's Governance Meeting, board commissioners talked about a plan to reduce financial mishaps. 

Terry Dade, RCSD superintendent, says officials are waiting until November to give specifics.

"We owe it to our community to share what we are going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again," Dade said. "So what kind of systems and processes are we going to put into place?"

Dade said he is committed to leading the district to fiscal stability and responsibility. 

Dade is still taking suggestions from the community through an email address. 

Board commissioners are also drafting ideas.

Commissioner Natalie Sheppard came up with the RCSD Governance Re-route plan. 

The plan covers three big ideas. Some require legislative changes. 

She would like to possibly reduce the number of commissioners on the board to five and make each position full time.

"I feel like we fell through the ice and we are struggling to keep our heads above water," Shepherd said. "When you're in that severe of a situation you really have to come with drastic measures."

Sheppard said that given the current state of the district, she believes commissioners should be hyper-focused on improving outcomes for students.

"Those of us who are truly invested are putting in part-time work on top of having a full-time job during the day," Sheppard said. "There's just no way we as a board can be held accountable to be responsible for all these things when we just don't have the time to do it."

Sheppard also wants to see the district Chief Financial Officer report to City Council monthly to keep them in the loop for checks and balances.

"I think our finance departments have been communicating with each other but it's what are they communicating and is that effective?" Sheppard said. "Is there going to be a way the Board and City Council can work together to make sure what's going on month after month, so if they do need to step in they know what they're stepping in on."

Dade is still looking for input on how to move past the current financial state in the district. 

He would like to hear from the community on ideas for closing the gap. The email address to send ideas is onevoice@rcsdk12.org

Dade promises to give a full report on how the overspending happened, who is responsible and the plan for fixing it on Nov. 12.


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