The Education Committee of the SW Common Council

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021

6-7:30 pm at

For Zoom Link, Contact John Boutet @

Here are the meeting notes as a .pdf file: SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2021-01-27.pdf


John Boutet            SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271,

Mary Coffey            N. Winton Village Co-Chair; Many Neighbors Building Neighborhoods; Public Safety

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

Avril Little              19thWard Resident/Villa of Hope, 420-8521,

Lee Loomis             School #10 Volunteer Tutor,

Welcome & Introductions

Reopening RCSD for Hybrid Model

  • Dependent on RTA position, tho most schools have indicated they will be opening in hybrid status within the month.

  • Research indicates school settings are relatively safe


  • Meeting w/ Mayor was productive - Mayor Warren recommends addressing this issue from an equity standpoint. John has general transcript of the meeting and has shared it with others. Mayor very supportive of Community Schools.

  • School #17 losing its local busing formerly covered by donation from Farash Foundation.

  • Sustained effort and laws on the books have systemically made sure that people of color have not been able to accumulate wealth (own a home in good neighborhoods) for centuries, not to mention they were only able to initially able to access rundown homes with inadequate plumbing, etc. Why do foundations put in large amounts for a certain period of time, but then pull away from an effort; no sustainability? Certainly funders and government could commit to at least 10-20 years of sustainable funding toward equity within the city, which is much less than a fraction of the time committed to the systematic ruin of families of color.

  • Equal economic opportunity is crucial; that’s on us and government.

  • Equity - expand the definition (include food, drug sales, alcohol stores, guns, etc.).

  • Can’t say the problem is government without our taking responsibility for putting those people into government; government holds inequitable ideologies that need to be changed - that’s up to us. Shift in thinking - education - is needed.

  • RTA puts a lot of money into political initiatives; this will have an impact on the positions politicians take.

  • Political recommendation: If you’re pushing local busing through the Legislator, limit your ask, like saying all “public” schools should have it. Get in touch with all the new Legislators in the area and educate them on needs.

  • What’s the plan to improve the schools? What can we as citizens do? Keep at it. Send individual letters to new Legislators, NYS Senate and Assembly.

CET (Community Engagement Teams)

  • John has recommended to School #10 to reintroduce volunteers into the schools and referred them to Lee who has overseen a team of tutors to assist at School #10. Lee has already made a strong connection with Community School Coordinator, Lia Festenstein, and has worked with Coordinator to restart tutoring support. Tutoring can be done via computer now vs losing travel time. This may open up additional volunteer interest. Most of tutoring has been for reading to prepare 2nd and 3rd graders; some math.

  • Let’s set up a process for teaching existing tutors how to become Zoom tutors.

  • Special attention is so valuable. Kids showed up on days they had tutors; that’s the day they would feel “special.” One-on-one special attention.


  • Tiffany Owens the new Executive Director for SWAN; has an interest in joining SWCC. John is reaching out.

  • Special thoughts go out to John Laing who’s wife, Kathy King, passed away last week.

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