Rochester school board votes to move forward on reconfiguration plan

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The vote is in: Major changes are ahead for hundreds of Rochester City School District students and staff.

Board of Education members approved the district’s reorganization plan, which includes closing 11 schools, along with five buildings, by the end of the academic year.

Parents and teachers filled every seat in the room before the meeting. Some had a chance to share their concerns with the board before the vote was taken.

“By delaying the vote, the parents hope that we can move forward with a vote in January,” Carmen Torres said. Torres, with the Children’s Agenda, was among parents, teachers and activists trying to convince the board to delay Thursday’s vote on school reconfiguration.

“Parents really didn’t get a voice before this was presented,” Torres said. She said the plan’s surprise announcement by the superintendent about the school and building closures was not fair.

“You have parents that started feeling a little upset about it simply because they felt like they should have been a part of a guide,” she added.

Before the plan went to a vote, Superintendent Carmine Peluso announced some changes: All current K-5 students in School No. 2 are invited to become part of School No. 25 (students not choosing to remain will take part in a special lottery); and current School No. 29 and RISE students in specialized ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) classrooms will remain together, with the classes moved as a whole. Also, the JROTC program will move to the Franklin Campus.

“For many of our families with students on the spectrum of autiism, we really want to make sure we keep them together when we move them. and the team looked at all the placements and how we could do that and we could make that work as well,” Peluso said.

Peluso has said the reconfiguration plan will align with new grade structure approved by the Board of Education last year, with all schools organized as pre-K to 6th grade, 7-8th grade, and 9-12th grade. The plan also includes closing 11 schools, along with five buildings.

In December, the district will begin the special lottery for impacted students in the schools that are closing.

The following schools are to close:

Elementary schools

  • Clara Barton School No. 2
  • Dr. Walter Cooper Academy School No. 10
  • Adlai E. Stevenson School No. 29
  • Andrew J. Townson School No. 39
  • RISE Community School No. 106
  • Wilson Foundation Academy

Middle schools

  • Dr. Alice Holloway Young School of Excellence
  • Franklin Lower School
  • Monroe Lower School

High schools

  • Franklin Upper School
  • Northeast College Preparatory High School

Buildings to close include schools 20, 29, 39, 44 and 106.

Other impacts include the following:

Elementary schools (preK-6)

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne School No. 25 moves to the current site of School No. 2, 190 Reynolds St.
  • Montessori Academy School No. 53 moves to the Dr. Walter Cooper campus at 353 Congress Ave.

Middle schools (7-8)

  • Charlotte Campus (new middle school)
  • Douglas Campus
  • East Lower School
  • Freddie Thomas Campus (new middle school)
  • Jefferson Campus (new middle school)
  • Wilson Foundation Academy Campus (new middle school)

High schools (9-12)

  • A new high school at the Franklin Campus
  • Rochester Early College International High School moves to the Dr. Alice Holloway Young Campus, at 85 Adams St.