RCSD officials submit plan for improvement

June 06, 2019 11:28 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The Rochester City School District Board of Education submitted a 68-page response to a scathing report from Distinguished Educator Jamie Aquino. 

Aquino was appointed by the State Education Commissioner in August of 2018 to look into the district's flaws. 

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"...It is the community, including the schools, that has to do a better job," Board President Van White said.

This is the second time the school board has submitted a response to Aquino's report. The first response was rejected by State Education Commissioner Maryellen Elia over concerns about a lack of a plan for the path forward.

White says this new response includes a detailed vision statement, a fine-tuned timeline and action plans.

Even so, some local leaders like Bob Duffy, president of the Chamber of Commerce, says it's time for a bold change.

"Let's have the state step in," Duffy said. "Commissioner Elia will have the power and wherewithal to step in and help us get this system back on track."

Duffy is a former Rochester mayor and police chief. He says these problems are not new, but the plan of action could be.

"I don't point fingers. It's not an individual person blame. The system has to change," Duffy said. "We've accepted failure and substandard results for decades."

White says with a 54 percent graduation rate and out of school suspensions at a historic low, things are slowly changing for the better.

"This Einstein notion that we're doing the same thing over and over again just doesn't jive with the facts," White said. "But I do agree, we do need to do things better."

A representative for the State Education Department re-sent News10NBC a previous statement when we asked about the status of a potential plan for state takeover. 

Read below for the entire statement from State Education Department spokesperson Emily DeSantis,

 "As we have said over the past several months, we are extremely concerned with the dire situation at the Rochester City School District. We are having conversations with state and local elected officials, union officials and community leaders to determine the best path forward to improve teaching and learning for all students. No decisions have been made and all options continue to be on the table. One thing is clear, the status quo cannot continue. To do so would be a disservice to Rochester's children.

Click here for the school district's updated action plan submitted to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. 


Kaci Jones

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