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RCSD Board Hosts Webinar, Q&A on Budget

Staff report

RCSD Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small.
File photo

It’s budget season for the Rochester City School District, and there are several ways to learn about the process and the money at stake.

The Board of Education is hosting a public webinar on the 2021-22 budget from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 11.

The Department of Finance and the board’s finance committee will give an overview on how funding is allocated to provide equitable resources for all students in the Rochester City School District.

Parents, students and residents can submit questions by completing the form on www.rcsdk12.org/budgetwebinar or by emailing boardofeducation@rcsdk12.org by noon on the day of the event.

Questions also can be submitted during the presentation in the live chat on the RCSD YouTube and Facebook streams. Questions will be answered in the order they are received, and to the extent time allows.

Other near-term budget dates are:

  • March 16 at 5:30 p.m.: District & East EPO superintendents present 2021-22 budget to the Board of Education and state monitor’s presentation to the board on the 2021-22 budget in special meeting prior to the Finance Committee Meeting (deadline in accordance with State legislation — 45 days from budget adoption).
  • March 18 at 5:30 p.m.: Presentation: 2021-22 operational, transportation and general support budget and budget deliberation session.
  • March 23 at 5:30 p.m.: Presentation: 2021-22 Debt service and employee benefits budget and budget deliberation session.

Budget documents are posted at www.rcsdk12.org/Budget.

The information includes testimony by Superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Smalls to the finance and education committees of the state Assembly and Senate.

Her statement pointed out the needs of the students and families in the RCSD and the progress in graduation rates and test scores. The statement acknowledged that despite those games, students in the district have consistently performed below their peers. She also acknowledged changes in how the district does its budgeting.

She said the district relies heavily on state aid and she expressed concern at the prospect of mid-year reductions, which she said in the past “have proven extremely disruptive to the academic program.”

Myers-Small listed specific concerns about funding the school health services; the burden of charter school tuition; capital improvements; career and technical education funding; and needs of English language learners.

Other budget dates are:

  • April 1 at 5:30 p.m. Deadline to provide proposed budget, state monitor findings and any budget amendments to the public via the district’s website (deadline in accordance with state legislation, 7 days from public budget hearing).
  • April 6 at 5:30 p.m. Presentation: 2021-22 instructional and special education budget and budget deliberation session.
  • April 8 at 5:30 p.m. Traditional public budget hearing.
  • April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Finance Committee Meeting (reserved space for budget discussions as needed).
  • May 4 at 5:30 p.m. Board memo with summary of final board concerns sent to the administration.
  • May 6 at 5:30 p.m. Special board meeting for budget adoption.
  • May 11 at 5:30 p.m. Summary of 2021-22 RCSD budget transmittal and final 2021-22 budget due to City Hall.
  • May 13. Final 2020-21 RCSD budget due to City Hall (date set by city; at least 33 days before City Council approval).
  • June 9 at 3:30 p.m. Joint budget hearing with City Council (date set by city).
  • June 9 at 5:30 p.m. Joint Board of Education / City Council public hearing (date set by city).
  • June 15 at 7:30 p.m. City Council Budget Approval (date set by city).