ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Marchers demand accountability and transparency from school district

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Ahead of the first week of school, community members are looking for answers on how the Rochester City School District will be spending its budget. Education community groups gathered at the Rochester Board of Education over the weekend, and marched to the public safety building. The theme of the march was “Halt the School to Prison Pipeline”.

The Rochester school district has a nearly $1 billion dollar budget, and community members question where the funds are going. The group of dozens chanted:

“What do we want, accountability, when do we want it? Now”.

The Rochester school board approved a budget of over $983 million dollars back in May. Where those funds are going was the topic of conversation at Saturday’s march.

“I’d like to hear more about what’s going to be done with the money, how can we better address the needs of the children, as well as the district, as well as the teachers,” Rochester parent, Robert Brown said.

This isn’t the first time, questions were raised over this budget. Before that vote in May, there was already a demand for greater transparency. While they wait, parents told us some of what they would like to see: 

“In a school district where 60-70% of the children are, children of color, I feel that at least 50% of the teachers should be teachers of color,” Brown added.

The community also called for better food, multilingual education, mental health programs, more social workers, and even school safety officers. There were about 16 different Rochester education organizations at the event, leading it was Citizen Action of New York, Rochester chapter.

“These issues have to be fully funded and fully implemented in order to gain the trust of the community and in order to ensure our students have the education that they need, we want to change the system around, we want to change the failure into academic excellence,” Jalil Muntaqim said, special projects coordinator for Citizen Action of New York.

Another suggestion the group made was for RCSD to create an environment that supports homeless students and their trauma. News10NBC reached out to the district for a comment.