The Rochester City School District Board of Education approved the district’s $802 million 2015-16 budget Thursday, May 7, in a 5-2 vote. Board members Mary Adams and Willa Powell were the only members who opposed the budget.
According to RCSD, the budget has closed a $40.5 million gap the district projected in December, and added $25 million to support academic priorities for improving student achievement in the district.
In addition, RCSD Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said 138 positions will be reduced at the school level, in order to match declining enrollment, but the reduction will be offset by retirements and vacant positions in the district.
Vargas also said the budget will include the following:
- 48 more reading teachers, so that every school has at least one instructor focused on student literacy;
- 5 more music teachers, which will increase the district-wide total to 97;
- Three more expanded learning schools, for a total of 13, which will add 300 hours over the course of the year;
- An estimated $11 million in program enhancements at East High School, Edison Career and Technology High School, the Leadership Academy for Young Men, and Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School’s International Baccalaureate program. Additionally, this will include a $9.8 million increase at East to fund the school’s Educational Partnership Organization agreement with the University of Rochester.
“No school district in Monroe County offers children more opportunities for pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, summer learning, or district-sponsored expanded learning,” Vargas stated. “This budget will allow us to continue to shift the trajectory of the district, and accelerate our progress.”
RCSD’s budget has received $32.5 million in state funding, total, and $22 million in additional foundation aid from the state, officials said. The funds represent a 6.4 percent increase, and a 6 percent increase, respectively, from last year.
The next step in the process will be for Rochester’s City Council to approve the budget.