by Carla Rogner
It has been a tumultuous process for the district to get a budget that all parties agree on. Last week, the board submitted its fourth version of its spending plan.
More than a dozen people spoke to the board. Many asked for more transparency in the layout. Others said they’re concerned certain student needs are being overlooked.
Eamon Scanlon spoke to the board as a parent and as Education Organizer with the Children’s Agenda. He wants to see an additional $5 million go toward mental health resources, like additional counselors and social workers.
“This is the latest the budget has been presented for The Children’s Agenda in the time we have watched the process, and this is the least transparent,” he said.
Angelica Perez-Delgado spoke at the meeting, asking the board to ensure there will be sufficient resources for English language learners.
“Based on the data we know where the gaps are, so making sure those resources are being targeted to those schools that are still being challenged,” she said.
For Ann Lewis, who retired from teaching in the district last year, she says it has been concerning to watch the budget process play out with so many obstacles. She wants to see term limits for the board members.
“We need to retire the ones who can’t do the job because apparently they can’t. We are still in a hot mess, we need to get together, put term limits on school commissioners, mayor’s office, city council members, because people get too complacent,” Lewis said.
The board will meet after spring break on April 26 to discuss the concerns they heard at the public hearing.
A final draft of the budget is due May 5 and the board will take up a final vote on May 10.
It will then need to be approved by Rochester City Council. The budget also needs the OK from the state appointed monitor, Dr. Shelley Jallow.
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.