Recent Articles

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Taylor Law

Many teachers in RCSD understand that at some point, we may need to withhold our labor in order to improve conditions for our students, their parents, and ourselves.  Some of us have asked "what about the Taylor Law?"  Here's a video that explains this a bit more.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Fiscal Mistreatment of RCSD

The Rochester City School District is in dire financial straits.  There is no disputing that.  Who is responsible for this mess and what should be done about it?  Well, that’s where there are some discrepancies.  In this article, we’re not going to focus on individuals.  Instead we’re going to try to tackle explaining the systemic issues that have put RCSD in this situation.  Our goal is to fuel discussion and spark action.
In New York State, school districts get money from a number of government entities.  Money from the State, grant money from the Federal government, and school and property tax from local municipalities.  Individual school districts can act to raise or lower local school taxes EXCEPT the “Big 5” districts.  Is Rochester one of the Big 5?  Of course we are.  Rochester gets local money by state law, but how much is at the discretion of the City of Rochester.  More on that later.
The largest chunk of state money districts receive is from what is called “Foundation Aid”. 
Foundation Aid, first enacted in 2007-08, is the largest unrestricted aid category supporting public school district expenditures in New York State. This year [2018-19] it represents approximately 67.3 percent of the total State Aid received by districts statewide. Foundation Aid has four main components:
1. A State-specified expenditure per pupil, called the Adjusted Foundation Amount, to which the State and school districts will contribute.
2. A State-specified Expected Minimum Local Contribution per pupil (based on a computed tax rate or local share formula) representing each district’s contribution to the Adjusted Foundation Amount per pupil.
3. The number of Selected Total Aid Foundation Pupil Units (TAFPU) in the district.
4. A calculation of Foundation Aid Payable, which adjusts Total Foundation Aid based on phase-in factors and minimum and maximum aid increases.
Complicated, right?  It is.  If you go to the link above you’ll see more details that confirms just how convoluted this is.  And if it’s not confusing enough for you, feel free to head over to the New York State Education Department’s State Aid Office webpage.  There you can read the Governor’s proposed changes to Foundation Aid for the 2020-21 budget.

Monday, February 3, 2020

We Need To Reach Out, Not Look UP

RORE Steering Committee Member, Michelle Sapere was recently on WXIR's Reclaiming the Narrative to discuss conditions in the Rochester City School District and the start of Rochester Organization of Rank & File Educators.  Have a listen.