By Staff –
The Rochester City School District Board of Education has voted to pass a $915 million budget, which includes an increase in funding for the district’s special education program, following the recent death of autistic student Treyvan Rowe.
The 2018-19 spending plan includes an 88 percent in funds for the department, as well as the addition of almost 40 full-time special education teachers, in addition to ten added behavioral specialists.
According to board of education commissioner Melanie Funchess, the budget is the first step in transforming the district’s policies.
“We’re taking it apart, piece by piece, part by part and bringing in parents, students, advocates, people with deep level content knowledge to really look to create a precisional fit between where our needs are and where are resources are,” Funchess said to WHEC. “So, it’s not just the what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it.”
The district’s new budget also follows the recent recommendation of a special committee, which is led by Funchess, and its proposal that RCSD commit to its special education department becoming fully-compliant within the next three years, and that the district make the commitment legally-binding by authorizing a legal consent decree to authorize the policy changes.
City school board members will vote on whether to accept the committee’s recommendations by the end of this month.
In addition, the district also previously hired Eamon Scanlon, an education policy analyst with the Children’s Agenda, to advise RCSD officials on how to optimize spending while enhancing education policies; however, the district ultimately used $20 million from savings in order to offset the full cost of the budget.
Visit https://www.rcsdk12.org/budget to view the budget’s full draft.