Updated: January 15, 2020 05:25 AM
Created: January 14, 2020 11:29 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade expressed continued confidence Tuesday that state policymakers would provide the funds the Rochester School district needs to balance its books.
On Tuesday, Dade and several busloads of students, parents, teachers union members and advocates traveled to Albany to lobby for more state aid.
“Things change when there’s a crisis, and we are really feeling that crisis,” Stevie Vargas with the activist group Citizen Action said shortly after her return to Rochester. “Students are mobilizing. They’re really taking up the mantle.”
As the RCSD school board finance committee met, the district’s new chief financial officer, Robert Franklin, declared his support for
Dade’s plan to dig the school district out of what had been a projected $64 million budget shortfall but warned it would be a lengthy process.
"We are going to need a solid two or three years to recover from this,” Franklin told the board.
Between layoffs and other cuts, Dade told the board his plan had reduced that projected shortfall by $37 million but cautioned the district would still need an additional $25 million from the state to avoid a “doomsday scenario” in which it would be unable to make payroll by May.
Dade declared he was certain the state aid would be coming but also warned there would need to be even more cuts in the district’s 2020-21 budget.
Still, he anticipated much less pain and disruption in the new budget because any cuts would be made as the budget was being formulated and at the beginning of the school year, rather than halfway through as happened at the end of 2019.
"I think with advance work and advance knowledge in our community of what we are facing and having time to truly digest and have feedback and input, It's going to set us up for much more success than we experienced this last go around," Dade said.
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