ROCHESTER, NY – Marchers demand school district accountability and transparency

ROCHESTER, NY – Ahead of the first week of school, community members are seeking answers about how the Rochester City School District will spend its budget. Community education groups gathered at the Rochester Board of Education over the weekend and marched to the Public Safety building. The theme of the march was “Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline”.

The Rochester School District has a budget of nearly $1 billion, and community members wonder where the funds are going. The group of tens chanted:

“What do we want, accountability, when do we want it? Now”.

The Rochester School Board approved a budget of more than $983 million in May. Where these funds are going was the topic of conversation at Saturday’s march.

“I would like to know more about what is going to be done with the money, how can we better meet the needs of the children, as well as the district, as well as the teachers,” said Rochester parent Robert Brown.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about this budget. Before this vote in May, there was already a demand for more transparency. While they wait, the parents told us what they would like to see:

“In a school district where 60 to 70 percent of the kids are kids of color, I think at least 50 percent of the teachers should be teachers of color,” Brown added.

The community has also called for better nutrition, multilingual education, mental health programs, more social workers and even school security guards. There were about 16 different educational organizations from Rochester at the event, led by Citizen Action of New York, Rochester Chapter.

“These issues need to be fully funded and fully implemented in order to gain the trust of the community and in order to ensure our students get the education they need, we want to change the system, we want to turn failure into academic excellence said Jalil Muntaqim, special projects coordinator for Citizen Action of New York.

Another suggestion from the group was that RCSD create an environment that supports homeless students and their trauma. News10NBC has reached out to the district for comment.

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