School district’s $734.2 M budget approved

ROCHESTER — The Rochester City School District Board of Education unanimously passed a $734.2 million budget during a special meeting held May 9.

The 6-0 vote, with board member Willa Powell absent, followed a discussion about an amendment proposed by board member Mary Adams to redirect funds allocated for staff technology coaches to restore student support services that have been cut. The amendment was not approved.

"Social and emotional support (of students) is one of the tenets we have to address," said Adams.

Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said that the issue was being raised too late in the budget process and that technology staff is necessary for the district to proceed with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which are designed to increase academic rigor for students.

The budget does address the priorities recommended by the board and the community, Vargas added, including increasing parent engagement, expanding the school day and closing a $50-million budget gap.

As part of the budget, 10 schools will offer an extended day next year, and more schools will offer sports and extracurricular activities, Vargas added.

Board member Melisza Campos said that she also is pleased that the board will move to a three-year budget process next year that will offer a "full picture" of what is happening in the district.

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