The Education Committee of the SW Common Council

Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 6-7 pm

For Zoom Link for next meeting: Contact John Boutet @ jboutet@frontiernet.net

PDF of Minutes: SWCC Education Committee Minutes 2024-02-28.pdf

Link to YouTube Video of January 24, 2024 Education Meeting: https://youtu.be/won9QcpELf8

Link to YouTube Video of February 28, 2024 Education Meeting: https://youtu.be/N2sbHkbsXYw

Attendance:

John Boutet              SWCC Education Committee Chair, 328-4271, jboutet@frontiernet.net

Mary Coffey               N. Winton Village Co-Chair; MNBN-Public Safety, marycoffey0@gmail.com

John Curran               REACH, St. Monica’s, WFM, jecurran@rochester.rr.com

Eleanor Coleman    Rotary SW, CCFCS YouthBuild, 224-5119, eleanor.coleman@gmail.com

Nicolle Haynes       RASE, 262-8648, Nicolle.Haynes@rcsdk12.org

Lee Loomis            School #10 Volunteer Tutor, leeloomis46@gmail.com

Charles Reaves        NSC Administrator, 428-7630, charles.reaves@cityofrochester.gov

Carmen Torres       The Children’s Agenda, Parent Advocacy Mgr, 256-2620 x2613,   
                                         carmen@thechildrensagenda.org

Welcome, Introduction & Discussion

Carmen introduced herself and the work of Children’s Institute which has been advocating alonside parents & teens to discuss a variety of issues. Carmen is part of the East High School effort. Working to prepare parents and students to advocate for their school as it faces potential cuts.

John B. visited School #10; they continue to work on the metrics used to measure school progress. Teachers still don’t know where they are going. Most of the students have been told where they’re going next year, except for students with disabilities. Lee continues to provide tutors from RIT from the Industrial Engineering Program (currently 9 tutors); will be tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays every couple of weeks to accommodate RCSD & RIT breaks.

John B. reported that we are still working on local busing. John talked about the efforts in the past to keep #16 open with the hope of having more neighborhood students attend so that parents could be local and more easily participate in school activities. Bill to support ½ mile busing is not moving at the State level at this time. Both local NY State senators are in favor of it.

Because parents currently have “Managed School Choice”, informed parents can pick a better school for their child but most just pick crosstown busing for safety and early departure; it would be better if all schools offered high quality education.

Not seeing local politicians take a strong stand in supporting parents & kids. Carmen noted that some efforts have been observed (Walking School Bus) . Parents are informed that they are able to change schools if the school is not meeting their needs. Buses also pick up homeless children as far as Greece. The many programs that are offered require transportation.

Mary Coffey noted that it’s not just the bus situation. It’s also the need for better education. What is our government doing for us. Generational Poverty is a large barrier. Reducing the crosstown busing would be a help but it’s not the only thing that needs to be addressed.

Hoping to get some insight from local police to educate us as to the challenges they face “on the street.” Cross town busing limits the ability to build relationships in neighborhoods.

Carmen noted that we have had 799,000 children suspended between the onset of COVID and now, Including first graders & kindergartners. Those children are at home and separated from their education. Once suspended for a certain amount of days, it’s harder to get them back.

East High’s use of social workers and counselors helps address the social issues. There are not enough staff to do all home visits needed at most schools. Nicole cautioned us on “blaming” School Choice as it’s a valid option for parents who currently live in neighborhoods with poor schools; this can lead to eliminating a good program. Every parent wants the peace of mind to have their child in a good school for them. Education is the ticket out of poverty.

It was noted that 1.5 miles is a very long walk for a child. Nicole noted that the 1.5 mile issue for reimbursement is definitely something we can address. The key issue, as she understands it, is the district does not get reimbursed for any transportation students under 1.5 mi. so we have to push local and state representatives. We clearly have violent corridors with supporting data and that should be taken into consideration; this is the same for weather.

NY State Bills introduced for reducing minimum distance for reimbursement to ½ mile:

Senate Bill S4414
Assembly Bill A1276

They have not advanced out of committee for 3 years.

Lots of politicians signed and backed this bill but it’s still stalled. Carmen noted that we need to know why they are still sitting there. And, who is championing this bills? When there isn’t a person leading the charge, other bills take priority.

Rochester Coalition for Public Education is meeting at 4pm on Friday. Good place to continue conversation on quality public education:

Rochester Coalition for Public Education Zoom Meeting
Friday, March 1⋅4:00 – 5:30pm
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83285861523?pwd=Y0Nnd0VyYjRGWnR1UGdvdGd3T...
Meeting ID: 832 8586 1523
Passcode: 460677

Need to have political buy-in and go to Albany to lobby for the bill. Keep the issue at the forefront. Hold politicians accountable; “Remember when you said you were supporting this bill? How are you helping to move it forward?”

Make appointments and meet with local people first. Need finances attached to the bill. Need to determine where the funds come from. In the long-run, fewer buses would be needed but there would be expenses attached to the transition time.

News just came out that UR will be able to stay with East High project for 4 more years. This arrangement is expensive but it only takes a few students to end up in jail, and the costs associated with that, to realize that the cost is worth it. Carmen noted that, if we don’t nurture our children, that same child will burn down your house to feel the warmth.

Need to elicit CPE’s support in writing. Also need to meet with the bill backers to determine the commitment level.

While this Committee has always focused on the SouthWest Quadrant, we have members that come from across the City because Education is an issue across the City.

Suggestion, invite Keith Stith, Deputy Chief of Police, who has been looking to meet with groups in regards to Public Safety.

(At this point I should direct us to the meetings we had with Mayor Warren about using safety zones:
SWCC Education Committee Minutes on Zoom 2021-04-28 
Child Safety Zone Map *
SWCC Education Committee Minutes on Zoom 2021-03-24
SWCC Education Committee Minutes on Zoom 2021-02-24
*
SWCC Education Committee Minutes on Zoom 2021-01-27
SWCC Education Committee Minutes on Zoom 2021-01-14   Mayor Warren)

Every 2nd Thursday at 7pm, Children’s Agenda meets with parents and Carmen invited us to attend.

Children’s Agenda Parents Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81111598257?pwd=aGtVbFBRWkdIaTVmVzJEdU50c...
Meeting ID: 811 1159 8257
Passcode: 603745
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,81111598257#,,,,*603745# US (New York)
+16469313860,,81111598257#,,,,*603745# US

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Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Monthly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZ0lce-rrj4sHNJDf2ykN8yKGqVH_WksNm_...

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Parents lead the meetings and run them along with Carmen. Lots of research attached to their issues and they use that data when meeting with politicians.

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