The Children’s Agenda analyzes budgets and public policy to ensure public expenditures map to what’s effective and what does the most good. With no affiliation with or funding from government or children’s services providers, we look at the impact of proposed funding plans on kids and families in the Rochester City School District, Monroe County, New York State, or The City of Rochester. We look out for taxpayers, making sure that expenditures are for evidence-based preventive programs that work—not expensive, remedial, or ineffective programs.
2016 is an important year for Monroe County’s children and youth. 2015 brought remarkable progress in aligning community leadership and resources in pursuit of systemic change that we hope will reverse the persistent and troubling negative trends around child poverty, school success and children’s health.
The following ideas were derived from HWLC strategy briefs..
– Community Members advocate for a tax on sugary beverages in Rochester
– Food Pantries and emergency meal programs adopt healthy donation standards
– Child Care settings support all new parents’ decisions to breastfeed
– Restaurants and food courts only provide water or low-fat milk on children’s menus
– Schools eliminate sugary drink offerings at all school-related activities and events
– Child care and early education settings provide children with two to three occasions to play outdoors daily
– Ensure that water be available in public places, recreation areas, and schools in Rochester
No single entity or organization can create the change necessary to improve outcomes for all children, cradle-to-career. Yet, improvement is possible when communities employ a “collective impact” approach to agree on shared goals; use evidenced-based approaches or best practices to improve; and measure success, together.
The total 2016-17 adopted budget for the City of Rochester is $517M, 2.3% higher than the 2015-16 amended budget of $505M. The property tax levy for City taxpayers is $154.2M (up $2.9M from last year) due to an 8% increase in total assessed value of property. The average homeowner will see his/her tax bill decrease by $15.85 per year, and business owners will see their tax bill decrease by an average of $215.22. The City expects sales tax revenue to increase by $1.63M. Refuse and Local Works rates are held steady; Water rates increase by 3%.
The City’s workforce grows by a net of 13 full-time positions, including 3 in the Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS). A $6M allocation from New York State for anti-poverty efforts was used to cover the costs of maintaining existing programs such as the Office of Innovation and capital projects in the RMAPI target neighborhoods.
The enacted FY2017 New York State budget establishes two important policies that will benefit Monroe County’s children and families. Paid family leave and an increased minimum wage will bring needed stability and income to working parents. While The Children’s Agenda (TCA) commends these gains, we are concerned about missed opportunities for children and families in this budget, which we fear will impact negatively on the needs of working families and the long term outcomes of New York’s children.
In partnership with the Greater Rochester After-School Alliance (GRASA), The Children’s Agenda has completed an inventory of out-of-school time (OST) opportunities in Rochester. This report is an update and expansion on previous inventories of after-school programs in Rochester. Several very recent initiatives in the Rochester area target resources toward common goals of 3rd grade reading competency and overall school success for Rochester students. A growing body of research has shown that time spent outside the classroom – in after-school programs and in summer learning and expanded learning opportunities – can impact efforts to improve the academic and social/emotional competencies of PreK – 12 students.
This report card tracks key measures of well-being for children and youth in the City of Rochester, from cradle to career.
In the FY 2016 Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo proposes creation of the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force, a high-level commission formed to address the serious issues of poverty and inequity in the greater Rochester area.
The Children’s Agenda has conducted an initial review and analysis of the 2015 Proposed Monroe County Budget. We have not yet received requested information from the County which we need to complete our full analysis. This document is a summary of our analysis to date as of December 3, 2014. We offer an overview, commendations, recommendations and concerns below.
The proposed 2015 budget is balanced and keeps intact the property tax rate of $8.99 per $1000 in assessed value, a rate that has been in place since 2008. The Operating Budget totals just over $1 billion and the Grant Budget totals $177.7 million. This represents an increase of $5.6 M, or 0.5%, over 2014.