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RCSD superintendent says new CFO is a 'rock star'

Charles Molineaux
Updated: November 20, 2019 06:15 AM
Created: November 19, 2019 10:56 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade promised a “rock star” of a new money manager to help straighten out the district’s tortured finances.

On Tuesday evening, Dade revealed he has made his selection for the district’s chief financial officer and the school board approved funding for a new CFO.

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“We were looking for someone who wasn’t going to walk in green but really knew their stuff and that’s what this individual is bringing,” Dade said, promising to officially announce the new CFO’s name on Wednesday.

The district’s new finance boss would face a daunting challenge: a $30 million budget shortfall in the RCSD’s 2018-19 school year and a projected $60 million budget gap in 2019-20.

Previous CFO Everton Sewell resigned last month as the district’s money crunch became public and Dade says his new one will have his work cut out for him.

Just to keep the school district in the black for the current school year, Dade proposed a series of cuts, reducing staff by 5% across the board, which would include eliminating positions for 168 teachers, as well as 38 teachers’ assistants and paraprofessionals by January 2020.

Dade acknowledged his proposed cuts would be painful but said he and his new money manager would be ready to make some tough decisions.

“We have a job to do and that’s not to have ‘Groundhog Day,’” he said. “I’m not going to wake up in September 2020 with the same financial news.          

Dade said his new CFO had an established track record in finance and in working collaboratively with a variety of departments.  

“We need someone with the… forward-thinking, to move us forward,” he said. “We also need someone is going to be able to really articulate our challenges and opportunities and the road ahead. So having a rock star CFO is really what we were looking for and it’s what we found in our candidate.“ 

School Board President Van White acknowledged a rocky road ahead for Rochester schools new financier but proclaimed himself confident.  

“The path forward is clear,” he said. “Whether it has stones or tumbleweeds in it, the path forward is clear.”


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