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State budget director calls for investigation of RCSD

State budget director calls for investigation of RCSD

WHECTV
Updated: October 08, 2019 04:57 PM
Created: October 08, 2019 02:21 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The state budget director is urging for legal action to address mismanagement and under-performance of the Rochester City School District.

Robert Mujica sent a letter to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and the interim state Education Department Interim Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. 

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The letter points out laws in place that provide legal recourse to the district's challenges. They include:

  • Assisting with the comptroller's audit into RSD's finances
  • Initiating a State Education Department investigation
  • Investigating and, if necessary, removing school board members and school officers
  • Immediately re-appointing a Distinguished Educator
  • Immediately placing schools in receivership

The State Education Department issued a statement following Mujica's letter to Warren.

“Clearly, the revelations and allegations surfacing over the past few weeks regarding the handling of RCSD’s finances are deeply troubling. The Department and Board look forward to findings of the Comptroller’s audit and conveyed to the Board and Superintendent Dade that they must take immediate action to address the district’s financial deficiencies. Further, we stand ready to partner with law enforcement agencies in any investigations the appropriate authorities feel are warranted. 

We remain extremely concerned with the dire situation in Rochester. We all know that systemic change needs to happen in the district to improve teaching and learning for children. Everything remains on the table and discussion needs to continue to find the best solution for Rochester’s students. 

Department staff have met with Superintendent Dr. Terry Dade and will continue to work closely with District staff as the district works to implement the recommendations in the DE’s report. Chancellor Rosa, Vice Chancellor Brown, Regent Norwood and Interim Commissioner Berlin are committed to ensuring RCSD students receive the education they need and deserve. We will continue our work to ensure stability and a brighter future for the students of Rochester.”

The city's communications director, Justin Roj, also issued a statement regarding the letter.

"Mayor Warren has been consistent in calling on the State to act on behalf of Rochester's children. We agree with the call from the State Budget Director - and the rulings from the State Supreme Court and Appellate Division - that the Department of Education must take action now to protect the short term health of our city's families and taxpayers. However, the Mayor still agrees with the State's Distinguished Educator who called for a 'total reset' of the system. While short term fixes that the State Budget Director proposed are important to protect Rochester residents, we must continue to pursue real State legislation to allow our children to reach their full potential."


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