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New RCSD budget adds programs

Rochester, N.Y. -- At $42 million, the budget gap faced by the Rochester City School District appears to be large.

We have a serious challenge with this budget gap, said Superintendent Bolgen Vargas.

Challenging as it may be, the proposed $782.4 million budget proposal seeks to increase spending by 1.4 percent.

We are going to provide probably the most robust summer learning opportunity for our children, added Vargas.

Vargas plan would add full-day pre-kindergarten for nearly all 4-year-olds, raising the percentage of students with access from 70 to 90.

An expanded summer reading program for all kindergarten through third-grade students would be added. Some of the other proposed additions include:

  • Expanded learning at schools 20, 22, 29 and 44
  • Art, physical education, extracurricular activites in every school, city-wide marching band
  • At least one full-time music teacher in every elementary school
  • Support for K-3 Common Core literacy in the expanded summer reading program
  • Four new modififed football teams, equipment, camps, three modified lacrosse teams

His budget plan, unveiled at a school board meeting Monday, seeks to cut $7.5 million from central office and administration through a reduction in positions, overtime and vacations, as well as reducing teaching staff to fit declining enrollment.

A good portion of the savings ie expected to come from retirements. There are 205 vacancies and there are, on average, 127 retirements per year, according to district records.

Im looking forward to it being a pretty smooth transition, said Cynthia Elliot, school board vice president and chairwoman of the finance committee. Of course, that remains to be seen.

Neither board members nor parents were able to question Vargas plan Monday, though public meetings are scheduled for April 3 and 22.

Board members vote on the proposal May 8 before giving way to the mayor and city council to adopt the budget plan.

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Washington Times