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Confusion ahead of RCSD back to school

Rochester, N.Y. - The city's school district will welcome 30,000 students back to class Wednesday morning but on the last night of summer, parents express concerns over all the confusion surrounding the first day of school.

Melanie Funchess has three kids about to start another year at two different Rochester schools. "We've been doing this a long time," Funchess said as she sorted through all of the school supplies, "We got a lot of stuff."

Headed into 8th, 10th and 12th grade, her three kids went to bed early Tuesday-- their outfits laid out and lunches packed, backpacks sat by the door. A hectic morning is expected on the first day of school but Fenchess said her kids are ready--she's just not sure if RCSD is prepared.

"My daughters' schedules came I looked and it and said 'wait a minute this schedule doesn't look right,'" Funchess said, "then we got a letter saying the schedules aren't right we're going to get another schedule so then we go the second set of schedules and then we got another letter."

One after another, letters from RCSD started to show up the week before school was set to begin. Last minute modifications to class schedules, bus routes, start dates and time and school supply lists.

Funchess said, "There's been a ton of letters, I mean literally a ton of district letters." Changed, then corrected by another change in a different letter, Funchess said it's been difficult to keep up with all of the paperwork and get on the same page as the district.

"I've called and I've sent emails and people are not responding to me and I experienced that and it's bad." Funchess said she has a lot of experience with RCSD, both good and bad, but this year already seems more chaotic than the last 13.

Then another letter explained why-- a letter from her daughters' school, Rochester's School of the Arts explained, "We will open our doors in September with more challenges than ever before." According to the letter, the school is understaffed because of administrative cuts made by the district.

"We've got to stop playing the blame game and pointing fingers," Funchess said. "We all have to take a role in this if we want, because our kids are at stake, the price is too high if we don't all make this happen."

Funchess said there is a shared responsibility--the district, its schools, students and parents all need to work together to start the year off right.

Chip Partner with the Rochester City School District said they are always trying to improve but schools are ready to start class Tuesday, still with the goal to achieve 95% attendance.

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Washington Times