RCSD Gets a Monitor to Work with Superintendent, Board

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Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

School-board-sign-2-300x300The New York State Education Department has appointed locally educated Shelley Jallow as the fiscal and academic monitor for the Rochester City School District.

Jallow earned her doctorate in education at St. John Fisher College.

RCSD’s recently appointed new superintendent, Lesli Myers-Small, also earned her doctorate from Fisher. Myers-Small’s degree is in executive leadership.

Jallow will work alongside Myers-Small and be the go-between the superintendent and the board. She will provide oversight, guidance and technical assistance related to the educational and fiscal policies, practices, programs and decisions of the school district, the Board of Education and the superintendent.

“I welcome Dr. Jallow to the Rochester City School District,” Myers-Small said in a written statement. “Her addition will be tremendously helpful not only for me, but also the entire District. She is someone who is familiar with urban school districts like Rochester and how a large school system works. Dr. Jallow will bring experience and another set of eyes to help build the RCSD toward academic and financial strength. I am committed to providing research, reports, and other pertinent information to Dr. Jallow to improve fiscal and academic outcomes for all of our students.”

Previous superintendent Terry Dade, who left after less than one year, said he had not seen the board coming together to support each other in what he called troubled times.

The monitor was a condition of the state providing the district with an additional $35 million to help close a budget deficit. The district already has had to start repaying that money.

Oversight of the district has been a source of contention. A referendum that would ask voters if they wanted a state takeover of the district failed to get on the ballot last year.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson said that turning control over to the state was not acceptable and that a monitor can help bring about “transformative change.”

Under legislation included in the state budget, Jallow will be a non-voting ex-officio member of the board of education. She will be entitled to attend all meetings of the board including executive sessions.

The news release from the state did not give a start date, but a proposed plan is due in less than six months.

Among her duties as monitor, Jallow will:

  • work with the district’s shared decision-making committee in developing the financial plan, academic improvement plan, district goals, implementation of district priorities and budgetary recommendations; and
  • assist in resolving disputes and conflicts, including but not limited to, those between the superintendent and the Board of Education and among members of the Board.

The board and the monitor will develop proposed financial and academic improvement plans for the 2020-2021 school year and the four subsequent school years no later than November 1, 2020. These plans will be the subject of public hearings to consider the input of the Rochester community. Once the plans are approved by the Board, the plans must be submitted by the monitor to the Commissioner for approval by January 15, 2021.

The district is required to provide quarterly reports to the monitor and annual reports to the Commissioner and Board of Regents on the academic, fiscal, and operational status of the district.

The monitor is required to provide semi-annual reports to the Commissioner, the Board of Regents, the governor, the temporary president of the Senate, and the speaker of the Assembly on the academic, fiscal, and operational status of the district which include all the contracts that the district entered into throughout the year.

As for Jallow’s experience, she served as a mathematics teacher, mathematics director, director of curriculum and instruction, chief academic officer, founding principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent.