RSCD Superintendent Proposes $1.07 Billion Budget, Up 4.4% From Previous Year

Rochester School Superintendent Carmine Peluso on Thursday proposed a $1.07 billion budget for the district, a 4.4% increase from 2023-24.

The budget would include cutting about 59 positions among the district’s 5,680 staff, most of them academic support staff paid through federal anti-poverty funding. On the other hand, there are many additional positions in special education and teaching English.

The budget calls for a $26.4 million increase in state aid. This figure will only be finalized after the adoption of the state budget.

The proposal uses $8 million from the fund balance, which State Comptroller Jaime Alicea said is the lowest figure proposed among all large urban districts in New York.

The Rochester Central School District building.

RCSD is helped by the return to regular transportation aid after the state refused to reimburse some expenses in last year’s budget. This change means an additional $21 million in revenue in the budget proposal. The district also earns significantly more money in interest — about $11 million — because of its larger fund balance, including federal stimulus funds.

On the spending side, RCSD will pay $127 million to charter schools educating Rochester residents, up from $114 million in 2023-24. About 8,100 students will attend charter schools next year, compared to about 21,000 at RCSD.

The budget does not reflect much of the additional staffing and outside contracts that have been paid for over the past four years using federal COVID-related stimulus funds. Those funds will expire in June, and districts across the country must decide whether to continue the additional programs with their own funds or eliminate them.

The billion dollars from the RCSD will be scattered very differently in 2024-25. Eleven schools and two programs have closed and five other schools are opening their doors. There is a new tier of junior high schools across the city, meaning primary and secondary schools are having their upper grades removed.

The board’s decision to let East…

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