The Education Committee of the SW Common Council

Wednesday, 3/24/21

6-7 pm at

Minutes Posted on:


John Boutet SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271,

Eleanor Coleman Rotary SW, CFC YouthBuild, 224-5119,

Joe Baldino School #29 Principal, 490-2245,

Melody Bishop Community Engagement Coordinator, School #19,

Donna LaMura Racial Justice/Busing; Highland Neighborhood,

Moniek Silas-Lee School #19 Principal, 328-7454,

Welcome & Introductions

Local busing - What will be possible

  • With changes in CDC regulations (3 feet vs 6 feet), we are getting closer to busing.

  • Email from Superintendent recommended three names at Central Office with whom to connect regarding local busing: Dr. Genelle Morris, Mike Schmidt and Wayne Kittelberger; will see what develops on that end.

  • Mayor has responded and is working toward identifying child safety zones which are needed to discuss busing; working on accessing data that will prove children are disadvantaged because we can’t raise taxes to support local busing which is an inequity.

  • Exploring positions of new NYS Assembly and Senate members; seem to be pretty progressive at this point.

  • Why can’t we levy a local income tax to teachers, police, etc. who work for the City but live outside of the City; however, would it make people not want to work in the City?

  • Most recent City tax bill shows that property taxes went up 5%; increase of 15% of that property tax goes to the City of Rochester while 0% of that goes to the City School District. Amount for the District has stayed stagnant. Still missing $86 million from the state.

  • High number of renters hurts the city's financial picture; property owners often don’t live in the area.

Quick review of school reopening - New COVID guidelines

  • CDC changed from 6 to 3 feet. Currently maintaining the 6 feet, however. Finishing school year in the hybrid model. Looking at a lot of different factors before making changes.

  • More students back brings up cafeteria issues; nothing coming out directly from the State; State will be the deciding factor.

  • MOU w/ RTA will also be an issue.

CET meetings

  • John Boutet attends School #3, #19, #16, #10 and Wilson Foundation CET’s. Been encouraging seeing the faces of the “teams” working together for a year or more to participate and contribute to making their schools better. Will schools continue to have this community connection when they are out of receivership; this has been a concern in the past with School #44.

  • School #19 plans to keep their teams moving forward; being a community school outlasts the receivership designation and can keep CET model. Melody noted that nothing but good has come out of the model thus far and can’t imagine abandoning it.

Rochester Coalition for Public Education News

  • This group is very active; Location19 has updates on the right side of the screen under “SouthWest Education Forums”. Groups have been exploring anti-racism issues and impact on many factors, including education.

  • Coalition makes connections with high-level education representatives - Superintendent, politicians, regents board, etc.

  • Exceedingly progressive group.

  • Definitely in need of more diversity and voices of the people being served.

  • Next meeting is 4/2, 4pm; contact John Boutet or Dan Drmacich ( for link to meeting.

SWCC pushing for revitalization

  • Looking for more neighborhood representation

Walk in items

  • Zone Reconfiguration Task Force - looking at a “cluster model” vs zones and create schools within the cluster that would include specialized services (ESL, disabilities, bi-lingual, MAP, arts, expidentiery, etc.). Exploring whether buses would be able to pick up students within these “cluster” areas where they are passing schools under the 1.5 limit anyway. Within a half mile of the school, what about “walking school buses?” Morning programs using para-professionals to help with parents needing childcare; could also provide programming like scouts, dance, music, etc. No schools are full. Students could choose a school to attend that is within their cluster, which would lower busing costs. We have not talked through this idea with parents so it is just theoretical at this time. Parents/students should have a choice within their area.

  • Wilson used to give preference to 14611 and 14619; city-wide draw with a preference for the neighborhood.

  • Replicate programs that are working well (like School of the Arts)

  • School #19 Seminar: Getting Smart About Finances - 4/8, 6-7pm; Guest Speaker is Malik Evans from ESL Credit Union; bring help to parents who need some financial guidance.

  • Open Enrollment on Monday 4/8 during the day; please let neighbors know.

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