On February 13, over 80 parents and community members attended “Makings Sense of The RCSD Budget,” a teach-in hosted by ROC The Future and The Children’s Agenda. Eamonn Scanlon, the Education Policy Analyst for The Children’s Agenda gave a 40 minute presentation on what led to the current financial crisis at the Rochester City School District. Following the presentation there were dozens of questions from the audience on everything from foundation aid to charter schools. Then attendees were invited to several small groups to discuss what they had learned.

Community members were surprised to learn that no money had been stolen or misplaced. The financial crisis was caused by unrealistic or incorrect assumptions that underestimated costs and overestimated potential savings.

Going forward, attendees were encouraged to speak to their local state legislators about the need for a $35 million one-time payment to RCSD to cover their costs through the end of the year. Without that money the district will be unable to make payroll towards the end of the year.

In addition to the current crisis, parents and community members were informed about the long-term fiscal challenges RCSD faces and the importance of increasing state aid (Foundation Aid). With RCSD facing a potential deficit of between $55 and $60 million dollars for the 2020-21 school year, additional Foundation Aid from New York State will be the only way to prevent hundreds more layoffs for next year.

To learn more you can watch a webinar of the presentation here.