Proposed school district budget released

ROCHESTER — The $782.3 million budget proposed by the Rochester City School District superintendent includes additional funding for increasing full-day kindergarten access, boosting summer literacy and increasing the number of schools offering expanded days.

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas also would like to add art, music, sports and extracurricular activities to every school for the 2014-15 school year, he announced during his March 24 budget presentation. The budget includes an additional $300,000 in additional resources for art and music instruction as well as providing for a full-time music teacher at every elementary school, according to the proposal.

With a $150,000 investment from Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the superintendent’s budget seeks to add four modified football and three lacrosse teams.

Summer school instruction also will be expanded for grades kindergarten through third to help the district achieve its goal of having every child reach grade-level reading by third grade.

The budget seeks to close a $42 million budget gap through several measures, including staffing reductions in central office, administration and nursing services and cutting 36 coaches in math, English language arts and technology. He cited the need for such cuts due to a 22-percent decline in enrollment — for a total of 8,002 students — during the last 15 years that resulted from the growth of charter schools and families leaving the district.

Public hearings and school board deliberations are being held this month to get community input on the proposal before the board’s scheduled vote on May 8. For more information, visit www.rcsdk12.org/Page/2.

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