Coming up with RSCD reconfiguration: Incentives packages, special lottery deadline, school name forum

RCSD reconfiguration: incentives, naming forum, lottery deadlines

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester City School District Board of Education members met for the final time this year on Wednesday night with plenty on the agenda as the district prepares for the upcoming 2024 school year.

School reconfiguration and staff incentives were discussed at the meeting, in which the board also said goodbye to two members.

“As part of the recruitment and retention process for staffing, one-time incentives will be provided to staff in all four bargaining units,” Superintendent Carmine Peluso said.

The incentives include $8,000 for middle school and new high school principals, and $7,000 for middle and new high school assistant principals represented by ASAR; $1,000 for all BENTE members whose position was not previously provided an incentive; $2,000 for certified teaching assistants in middle schools and $1,000 for paraprofessionals in middle schools represented by RAP; and $5,000 for certified teachers in middle schools, and $6,000 for certified bilingual and special education teachers in middle schools represented by RTA.

Peluso also said the district would lower class sizes in elementary and middle schools for the year 2024-25.

Incoming Board of Education member Isaiah Santiago said the incentive package aimed at attracting talented teachers and staff from across the country and retaining current staff is the right move, at the right time.

“I mean I think right now as we are looking at our shortage, I think that we must be appetizing to the workforce,” Santiago said.

It’s one of the many goals 19-year-old Santiago said the board is committed to heading into the new year. “We also want to bring people from other areas to our district, and the way to do that is by showing that this is a district that holds value,” Santiago said.

In October, the board voted 5-2 in favor of a massive reconfiguration plan. The proposal takes effect at the beginning of the next school year, in the fall of 2024, and will close 11 schools along with five school buildings.

Heading into 2024, a public forum to name several schools in the district — five new and two existing schools — will take place at 5 p.m. Jan. 16. Sign up to speak — or submit recommendations to — by noon Jan. 16. The names must be submitted to the state Department of Education by March 1.

Another reminder for parents, the special lottery under the reconfiguration process ends Jan. 5. This affects K-5 students in closing schools, current 9-11th grade students at Franklin and Northeast, and most 7th grade students. For more information on the reconfiguration process, click here.

Another school choice lottery open to people throughout the district, in which families can indicate their top choices for the 2024-25 school year, runs through Jan. 19. for more information, click here.

Santiago and Jacqueline Griffin will be sworn into their roles as commissioners on the Board of Education on Jan. 2, Mayor Malik Evans says it’s important to remember the work of its two departing board members, Ricardo Adams and Willa Powell, and look toward the future with confidence.

“These are very difficult jobs and it’s okay to just pause and come and thank people because you don’t get that often. It’s an opportunity to say thank you to commissioner Powell and to commissioner Adams, and I know that on behalf of the community I’m very grateful for their service and the time they put into improving education in our city.”