Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has formed an Early Education Commission to raise funding and support for universal pre-k. Warren announced the commission
at the University of Rochester Presidential Symposium this morning.
Education was the centerpiece of Warren's winning mayoral campaign last fall. Citing decades of decline at the Rochester school district, she said she would work to bring high-quality charter schools to Rochester. She has also pledged to create an education department in City Hall, though it's not yet clear what that department would do and how it would co-exist with the city school district.
Rochester is the worst performing of the state's Big Five school districts.
Members of the Early Education Commission will be announced soon, Warren said this morning. According to a press release sent out by Warren shortly after her speech, the commission's job will be:
• Engaging stakeholders to help convince leaders in Albany that the region needs its fair share of the new universal pre-k funding announced by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State and budget messages;
• Seeking grant funds to conduct an enrollment study to quantify the total seats and enrollment projections, parental demand, and identify barriers to access. The data will be made available to providers interested in expanding or starting new programs;
• Working with community partners with pre-k experience, like Action for a Better Community, Baden Street Settlement, the city school district, charter schools, and others to assess whether there is sufficient supply of pre-k teachers and quality professional development programming;
• Convening parent focus groups to collect feedback.
The commission will be led by Allen Williams, the City of Rochester's director of special projects in conjunction with Marisol Ramos-Lopez, the commissioner of the Department of Recreation and Youth Services. Williams is a former member of the Rochester school board.