SWCC Education Committee Meeting w/ Mayor Lovely Warren

January 14, 2021

9:30am Zoom Meeting

Here are the meeting notes as a .pdf file:  SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2021-01-14 Mayor Warren.pdf

Attendance: Alicia Ward /font>award_1civic@yahoo.com>, John Boutet /font>jboutet@frontiernet.net>, Brittaney Wells /font>Brittaney.Wells@CityofRochester.Gov>, Caterina A Leone-Mannino /font>Caterina.Leone-Mannino@rcsdk12.org>, Chojy Schroeder /font>chojy.schroeder@gmail.com>, Idonia Owens /font>idoniao@gmail.com>, Lovely Warren /font>lovely.warren@cityofrochester.gov>, Moniek Silas-Lee /font>Moniek.Silas-Lee@rcsdk12.org>, Ralph Spezio /font>rspezio@yahoo.com>, Stella Wang /font>stella.wang@rochester.edu>

Discussion & Decisions:

LW – welcomed everyone to the zoom meeting.

Everyone had received minutes from the December 23rd meeting discussing the importance of local busing for community building as well as two RCSD local busing studies showing local busing cuts costs, and the 1.5 mile circle map around School 16.

JB – introduced some history of the SWCC Education Committee in 2012 fighting to get School 16 renovated and then reopened on Post Avenue. With the 19WCA Schools Committee being reactivated in Spring of 2013 we then worked on getting agreement to renovate and reopen School 10 on Congress Avenue. Our objective was to have these schools reopen as Community Schools and we based that on what we observed being done at School 17 by Ralph and Caterina. As more schools in Rochester's SW chose to become Community Schools we are following their progress by sitting on their Community Engagement Teams (CET). We sit on CET's for Schools 3, 10,16, 19 and Wilson Foundation Academy (WFA). Having local busing is very important for these schools.

LW - What is going one with school 44?

JB –Turning it into a pre-school center is up in the air right now because it was very dependent on funding.

LW – Regarding the issue of short-distance busing; i.e., getting busing within a 1.5 mile distance. At School 17, I think, it was a grant by the Farash Foundation that allowed the School to have busing within 1.5 mile. Where are you with legislation with the State to cover this.

RS – Introduced the work that had been done with the Liz Hallmark task force on the Managed School Choice Policy. Parents on this task force all wanted a local busing option. If the City and RCSD link arms they should be able to get a waiver for local busing.

CLM – Mayor Warren, you asked about the suburban districts, there is currently Child Safety Zone (CSZ) Education Law 3635-b legislation which authorizes a board of education the discretion to provide transportation for children who reside within a CSZ. There is a NYS Application & Point System [17 NYCRR 191] for districts with fewer that 125,000 residents to designate a CSZ for busing reimbursement. This is available to students whose walk to school would take them through a hazardous zone. http://www.p12.nysed.gov/schoolbus/Parents/htm/Child_Safety_zones.htm . This CSZ designation is a function of physical dangers and so can also be tied into equity.

LW – This is good because it refers to existing legislation we can point to. Please send me the links to the laws. This is great because pointing to equity was how we managed to get a traffic court in Rochester.

CLM – Suggested doing a video of the walk to school through some of the more dangerous areas on the way to school.

LW – A video is good to show parents to get support for pushing for local busing but for the State Legislature, pointing to inequity will be more effective. We can get data on traffic on roads, bridges, RR crossings etc. to support a safety zone.

AW – Reviewed the information she gathered on what various other school districts in the area provide to their students:


Penfield Central School District:

  • Grades K-8 Students who live more than 1/2 mile from school

  • Grades 9-12 Students who live more than 1 1/2 miles from school


West Irondequoit

  • Grades K-3 All students are eligible

  • Grades 4-6 Students who live more than 1 1/2 miles from school

  • Grades 7-8 Students who live more than 2 miles from school

  • Grades 9-12 Students who live more than 3 miles from school


East Irondequoit

  • Grades K-5 Students who live .26 miles or more from school

  • Grades 6-8 Students who live.76 miles or more from school

  • Grades 9-12 Students who live 1.01miles or more from school


Rush-Henrietta

  • Grades K-12 All students who live within the district are eligible

Brighton

  • Grades K-2 Students who live 1/8 mile or more from school

  • Grades 3-5 Students who live 1/4 mile or more from school

  • Grades 6-12 Students who live 3/4 mile or more from school


Pittsford

  • Grades K-8 All students are eligible

  • Grades 9-12 Students who live 1/4 mile or more from school

JB – Given the 1.5 mile reimbursement regulation, parents can always find a school on the other side of the city that permits them to put their child on a bus before rushing off to work themselves. Having local busing has to be as easy for parents to use.

LW – I agree but we have not had success appealing to the Legislature on the emotional basis. I think it is time to approach them on the basis of equity. I'll have Brittaney set up a meeting with the Superintendent to discuss this issue then we'll meet with our State delegation to discuss the equity issue pointing to the successful use of that approach for getting traffic court. I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks.

RS – Caterina had done a great deal of work to gain an agreement for providinge local busing to make School 17 a community school again. She had agreements with many of her parents and local partners that local busing would be provided. Now they are planning to pull that agreement from her as the school transitions back to in-person learning.

LW – I'll pursue the busing on the basis of equity but you should pursue having parents stand up and object with the School Board about having the local busing agreement being taken away at School 17. This is something you should probably also talk to Empire Justice about. Parents can say they put their kids at 17 with the agreement they would have busing and now it is being taken away.

JB – We should remember that if we have a blanket local busing option it could reduce the cost of busing by approximately $4 million dollars per year. It also provides much better interaction between parents and their child's local school.

RS – The strategy that the Mayor has outlined is foundational. Now principals like Moniek can plan for having local busing.

MSL – Ours is a receivership school and becoming a community school is a strategy for our coming out of receivership. The fact that Caterina has done so much work on community schools with local busing is exciting for us. Your securing local busing by using this equity approach is great. Because of COVID our parent meetings have had to be conducted on Zoom and that has doubled parent involvement because they don't have to take a bus all the way across town. Having local busing will similarly increase parent involvement. I applaud your tactic in getting this done.

SW – I work at the UR and teach courses that have community engagement. I have worked with SW community associations and have worked with Moniek and John.

CS – I just wanted to thank everyone and say this is very important and anything I can do to help I will. Thank you for allowing us to be with you.

IO – Thank you Mayor Warren for your time and I just want to say that approaching local busing from the standpoint of equity is the strongest argument we can ever make. It is an issue of equity for our kids.

LW – OK, we'll get to work and we'll let you know where we can go from here.

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