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This is Rochester
   A summary of noteworthy news about Greater Rochester schools
  Most recent developments

RCSD reports uptick in graduation rates

Aug. 14, 2019 -- The graduation rate in the Rochester City School District was about 58 percent this spring, according to unofficial figures provided by the district. It's the highest mark in more than a decade and follows several years of small gains.

East High School improved 13 points from last year, reaching 65 percent. The 2019 graduating class was the first to arrive as ninth-graders under a partnership in which the University of Rochester operates the school.

The data points to fewer students dropping out and more earning local diplomas. The report says Rochester has made the greatest progress in New York over the last seven years in reducing drop-outs. The drop-out rate was a state-worst 28.3 percet in 2013 and stood at 18 percent in 2018.

Three new charter schools proposed

Aug. 8, 2019 -- Three applicants are seeking state approval to open charter schools in Rochester starting in 2020 in the largest local push in several years.

• The Citizenship and Science Academy of Rochester Charter School would initially serve grades K-6 and focus on on STEM and environmental education. It would be part of the Science Academies of New York, joining two schools in Syracuse and one in Utica that have affiliations to the network of exiled Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen, as does the existing Rochester Academy Charter School.

• Boys to Men Community Charter School would be a male-only school serving grades 6-12 with 10-hour school days. The application was first created in 2016 by Darryl Porter, a former RCSD board president, but did not advance.

• Collegiate Charter School of Rochester would serve grades K-5, with two teachers in every classroom. The head of school would be David McBride, a former principal in the Rochester Prep network.

The applications go before the state Board of Regents, which will decide within the next few months whether to permit them to open.

RCSD school board wins round in State Supreme Court

Aug. 2, 2019 -- Rochester City Hall cannot put an advisory referendum about the future of the city school board on the November ballot, a State Supreme Court justice has ruled.

In the decision, Justice Scott Odorisi was also critical of a letter sent to some city residents about the upcoming referendum, which Mayor Lovely Warren's office said was designed to educate residents about the issue. Odorisi called the letter a "loud and clear endorsement of referendum" and added it "smacks of prohibited advocacy."

The Monroe County District Attorney's Office is looking into the letter, a spokeswoman said. A city spokesman declined to comment.

Odorisi said that some of the issues involving City Hall's desire to remove the elected school board have to go back to City Council for a new vote that is consistent with his order. Chief among the problems is that the November ballot measure would be advisory rather than substantive and as such is not permitted.

The city filed a notice of appeal hours after the decision.

In a recorded statement, Warren called the decision "a grave injustice." She said the district's lawsuit protects adults who profit from a failed education system and silences citizens.

Posting on Facebook, school board member Willa Powell wrote: "The City has no more grounds to attack us, and even if they did, it won’t do them any good. So, Madam Mayor and Honorable City Council... shut up and let us do our job!"

City Hall fires back at RCSD

July 31, 2019 -- The City of Rochester has filed a counterclaim against the Rochester City School District in the dispute over a proposed November referendum.

The city's claim requests that school board members pay back their salaries if the Rochester School Board is removed. The school district filed a lawsuit earlier this week seeking to stop a non-binding November vote asking the state to dissolve the school board.

RCSD files to stop November referendum

July 29, 2019 -- The Rochester Central School District has filed in New York State Supreme Court to block a non-binding November referendum which calls for dissolving the school board.

The referendum was proposed in June by Mayor Lovely Warren. Voter approval would be a message to the state to dissolve the school board and assume control over the district for five years.


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