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RCSD spending for outside assistance is not new

Rochester Business Journal
February 14, 2014

Bolgen Vargas, superintendent of the Rochester City School District, recently proposed that area colleges become deeply engaged with the operations of district schools. Reaching outside district resources to augment district functions is not a new idea for the RCSD central office. Although Vargas proposed no specific protocols, area colleges already receive district monies, through RCSD board of education resolutions, for the 2013-14 school year. The district has budgeted $1,093,000 for four area colleges to administer programs. Additionally, the board has budgeted over $7 million to outside agencies to administer programs.

Monroe Community College is paid $554,000 to administer four programs for the district. One $150,700 program provides the opportunity for 375 Rochester Early College International High School students to attend dual credit courses and college credit courses. Another $231,000 program is for the college’s Rochester AmeriCorps to provide in-class support for at-risk students. The number of students and the location of students is not provided. A third program is for MCC to work with several grade levels of students at James Monroe High School. Eighth-grade students will receive testing services, and 10th-grade students will receive college orientation seminars. A fourth program costing the district $30,000 is for MCC to provide a transition program and college readiness information to the district’s Work Experience Program students.

SUNY Geneseo is paid $250,000 to provide professional development services to English language, limited english proficiency and special education teachers and school leaders. Rochester Institute of Technology received $250,000 to support a Summer Transition Program that extends from this past summer to June 30, 2014, and to provide academic tutoring and campus exposure for 250 ninth- and 10-grade students. Also, RIT is paid $18,800 for district teachers to collaborate with RIT professors in interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering and math learning experiences.

Nazareth College is paid $20,300 to provide professional development assistance from the Marie Callahan Reading Center to the district’s Vanguard Collegiate High School’s Freshmen Experience Program. Also, Harvard College is paid $102,000 to provide fellowship slots in the college’s Strategic Data Project to four district employees. These employees and their district positions were not provided.

Other outside agencies are subsidized by the district for student services. The Hillside Family of Agencies is paid $779,000 for three programs, which include work-scholarship opportunities for students and services for students residing at the Hillside Children’s Center. The Center for Youth Services receives $505,000 for a variety of student behavior modification programs. The Children’s Institute is paid $288,500, mostly for universal prekindergarten services in conjunction with community organizations. There are 12 other community providers paid a total of almost $3 million to support the district’s Expanded Learning initiative. This before- and after-school project already receives $2,911,900 for additional teacher and administrator salaries.

Some other budget allocations for district schools include $700,000 to the SUPES Academy LLC to provide leadership training to district administrators. WestEd is paid $254,000 for two school transformation projects, and three outside consultants are paid $54,000 each to help diagnose priority schools. Core Education and Consulting Solutions Inc. is paid $2,225,650 to provide temporary staffing services, and the Mercier Literacy Program for Children receives $260,000.

Although the $15,221,000 expenditure for outside classroom support services is a small slice of the district’s total $734,224,377 budget for this school year, will this amount suffice to fund the superintendent’s college plan? Or will there be a need for the district to ferret out and plead for additional resources to support outside assistance?

Donald Badura is a Rochester resident.

2/14/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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