"And before that Broad Street had to be closed for major repairs due to deterioration of the road bed over the old canal aqueduct."
MJN- can you tell me how you found that out? I've been wondering why the area of Broad Street between Chestnut and Clinton has been in a state of disrepair all summer and I didn't see anything about it in the news.
We give tax breaks to companies to bring jobs here, but we can't pay for education and therefore don't develop our talent pool so companies have less reason to come to Rochester. The job creation that is put forth is in construction and housing development with a flatlined population growth.
All of our projects are based on how to get in and out of Rochester... the marina, the ferry, the high speed rail, the bus station... or they are there for transitional populations visiting our colleges that for the most part will not stay because of the crime and the lack of good work.
I believe that transitioning to a fair tax system needs to be phased in over time, but the breaks are not keeping the companies here because we're not developing talent that was born in this area and has ties here.
Finally, and most importantly... are these tax breaks working to keep job creating companies here, because a lot of these tax breaks are going to companies developing residential properties.. no jobs there outside of maintenance, which is again on a contract basis and not permanent.
I don't buy your argument. There are plenty of very well qualified candidates for ANY teaching position in New York. The few opportunities at suburban districts are far outnumbered by the well qualified teaching candidates that are currently looking for jobs. There is no way that the selection process used at the suburban districts only identifies the cream of the crop and those that are left over are not up to par.
When Dr. Urbanski compared RCSD teachers to Webster teachers, he forgot to mention 2 very important differences in the teacher pipeline of these two districts, both of which are a result of the local collective bargaining agreements he negotiated, not state statute or regs:
(1) Like large urban districts across the country, RCSD has a complex and cumbersome seniority transfer process. While suburban districts are posting jobs and interviewing for new teachers in the spring, the RCSD is waist-high in paperwork about senior teachers bumping junior ones. By the time the RCSD finalizes the transfers and posts their new jobs, the suburban districts have had first pick at the strongest applicants in the new teacher pool.
(2) Once hired, tenure is generally a higher bar in high-performing districts. Before the new APPR, an independent audit found that 65% of first year teachers in RCSD were never observed and that the tenure panel granted tenure for time-served, without any substantive review. In contrast, high-performing districts will often coach ineffective teachers to leave or refuse tenure.
My only question to Dr. Urbanski would be --- as it relates to significantly improving educational conditions, and outcomes within predominantly black, and brown "urban public schools" --- if ideas such as so-called "APPR" are not effective, (and I don't believe they are) --- then what types of strategies would be effective? One thing is for certain --- we cannot just continue down the path of very old, entrenched status quo.
Several years ago, a close friend of mine was teaching in one of the schools mentioned. He would routinely tell me stories of students walking into the classroom and immediately doing something violent or outlandish (punching another student, kicking a desk across the room, etc.) solely with the desire to be sent to in-school suspension so they did not have to sit through the class. This would happen almost daily. Of course, when faced with the decision of having your entire class disrupted for the entire period or send the student to ISS, the decision seems clear from the teacher's point of view. However, when the student is being "rewarded" by not having to sit in the classroom, something seems broken.
As a Webster teacher, I completely agree with Adam Urbanski's comment.
City teachers are not worse than suburban teachers.
I worked hard last year. I earned my H.
If I taught in the city, I might have a D or an I on my HEDI rating instead.
Unfortunately, Cuomo's APPR system makes it rational for urban educators to flee to the suburbs. Despite the State Education Department's attempt to make statistical adjustments for high-needs student populations (my score was quite reasonably reduced for serving a less-needy group of students last year), there is no formula powerful enough to account for the negative effects of poverty on academic achivement.
So I get to walk away with my H while equally-qualified teachers in the city get slammed.
How does this benefit city students?
Jason - A couple of points, First, one topic that is seldom mentioned, and certainly won't be addressed in this election, is the cost of maintaining Rochester's aged and crumbling infrastructure. As you may recall, just a few weeks ago a water main on State Street collapsed. And before that Broad Street had to be closed for major repairs due to deterioration of the road bed over the old canal aqueduct.
Secondly, it matters little what strong negotiating points city officials may, or may not, realistically have available when they sit down with developers if we continue to waste millions of local and state tax dollars on doomed projects like the Charlotte Marina. “If you build it he/they will come” might make a good line for a movie, but it makes a poor business case in the real world.
The behavior in question is a snapshot of a bigger picture that most blacks in Rochester refuse to address. It's a "cultural crisis" a crisis of views and values. Many RCSD teachers frequently witness chaotic behaviors between predominately black students and reserve comment for fear of being labeled a "racist". Hundreds of black students are allowed to roam the halls of various RCSD school buildings throughout the school day using the most vulgar language and displaying thuggish behaviors without adequate intervention. The RCSD and the so-called black community is a sinking ship that refuses to do what is needed to save itself from itself.
I think the City of Rochester has a far stronger negotiating position than people realize. A lot stronger than the Town of Webster.
Cities like Rochester have inherit value that suburbs and rural areas don't. Cities have high population densities that allow for less cost per family on infrastructure. The dense population also creates business opportunities that don't exist elsewhere because of a larger population.
This extra wealth can be reinvested back into the city in the form of public works (like schools) or it can concentrated into the hands of a few people who live lives of idle luxury on the backs of working families.
Cities are being rediscovered by both empty nesters and a younger generation that reject the high environmental and social costs of the suburbs. The City of Rochester is more "valuable" than ever.
That the City still exists at all to be valuable is thanks to the people who stuck it out while people fled during the suburban sprawl of the last fifty years. So now that the City has this new value, it should be the people who have serve as it's caretakers who benefit from it.
That's not what's happening though. Instead valuable land and infrastructure is being gifted developers for a dollar and decades of tax breaks. Real wealth in the form of valuable land and infrastructure is being used to enrich outside developers instead of the common good.
This has to end. I'm not saying that the City may not have to negotiate. But we need a strong mayor who knows the City's TRUE value and negotiates a fair price for its use. Not somebody who will just give it away for a dollar.
Of course they don't trust the data - and they shouldn't. A few years ago I was working for one of the schools mentioned in this post & I was reporting suspension to grant funders. About mid-year I discovered that the data I was reporting (compiled directly from Administrators and the In School Suspension teacher) was wildly different than the data the Principal was reporting to RCSD. As a result, from that point forward people were instructed not to share real data with me. The next year I was transferred out of that school & the Principal was promoted. SO MUCH is buried at the school level, that the data that makes it way to Central Office is extremely inaccurate. Oh and in my professional career I have never met anyone more full of hot air than Cynthia Elliott.
I get your point, Jason. But there are many, many examples of developers approaching different entities to see who would give them the best deal. The one that readily occurs to me is Xerox's toner plant. They were considering a few options and wanted to know what COMIDA could do for them before they made their decision. They got their incentives, and stayed in Webster.
"...they’d put the region at an extreme competitive disadvantage over communities who do offer the deals. "
That seems like a hell of a statement. Most of these developments are meant to service the people of Rochester. You can't build a restaurant for Rochester customers in Syracuse. You can't build a condo for Rochester residents in Buffalo.
A lot of developments could still be very profitable while paying a tax rate that allows us to maintain the city's infrastructure and raise the next generation of Rochester (and the next generation of these businesses customers too.)
Never will you hear an estimate about how well the current actual and proposed solutions will work; funny.
Finally, after scouring local news for two days I find a Rochester-area media that mentions yesterday’s release of IPCC (AR5) Climate Report: “Human influence on climate clear, IPCC report says” http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar…
Yesterday’s news release is just the first installment of a collection of scientific climate change studies that'll come out over the next year. But it does stagger one’s mind to see at this late dale so few of Rochester’s media unwillingness to report on the greatest crisis of our age—a crisis that will have a profound effect on our region too. Climate Change is about planning ahead and though we are in the middle of a mayoral campaign nary a word from the candidates or the press about how our next mayor will lead on Climate Change. Two weeks ago I listened to a governmental expert say that NYS temperature figures are on a trajectory for a 6C rise by 2100. That’s game over.
It isn’t just about how hot it’s going to get, it’s about the speed it going to warm—far faster than any animal or plant has ever had to adapt before. This should galvanize the public to demand that their next leader provide their platform on adapting our transportation, telecommunications, and water infrastructures for more extreme and frequent rainfall. What will the mayoral candidate do to provide adequate shelter for more extreme heatwaves and in the increase of warm-climate diseases, like West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, malaria, and dengue fever—for those homeless and without health care? What will the next mayor do to prepare our region, rich in fresh water and productive soil, for the probable influx of those not blessed with such resources?
Rochester should be preparing for not only future disasters, but future prosperity because of our region’s abundance of transportation options (think canal too for heavy freight), farmland (as yet, un-Fracked, growing renewable energy, and did I say fresh, clean water?
BTW: This IPCC (AR5) study, though a world-wide study by the majority of the world’s climate scientists, had to be approved by not only other climate scientists (95%), the study also had to pass through the powers of many nations. It is a very conservative study (that many scientists say is too milquetoast) and it is not the only climate study around. There are many, many climate studies from many governmental agencies, universities, groups, and industry (like the re-insurance companies) that are all saying the same thing: You cannot ignore Climate Change and continue business as usual. Thanks to Rochester City Newspaper for the world crisis mention. For without continual coverage on Climate Change by the local press, the public will get deluded that this issue will somehow bypass us. I don’t think so.
"School officials blame student behavior, not transporation for problems on East Main Street"
As they should! Don't blame buses for kids fighting, blame the kids and their parents for thinking its ok to just brawl whenever they feel like it. What exactly are they fighting about anyways? Maybe we should look into the causes.
I ride by Monroe High School every day where there are lots of kids hanging around before and after school, and they manage not to fight each other.
Ms. Elliot has unfortunately displayed some behavior in the past toward other Board members and/or members of the public that would merit suspension or expulsion if she was a student. Why would anyone be surprised that she's defending students' misbehavior?
While responses with "aggression and defensiveness" might unfortunately be relevant to the culture of some students in their neighborhoods, it is not appropriate for schools, and when it becomes disruptive to the learning of other students it is unacceptable. Ms. Elliot seems to justify behavior that is harming the ability of all students to learn. Inside a school building it is a pretty objective to measure, independent of racial/gender/cultural factors, when behavior of some students creates a roadblock to the learning of the majority of students by disrupting learning and instruction. If Ms. Elliot is not aware of some of the ridiculous behavior that is displayed by some students on a regular basis that merits suspension, she might want to spend a little more time in school buildings to earn some of the $20K+ she's earning yearly as a School Board representative.
"The Rochester Police Department will continue to deploy significant resources to deal with problems that may arise, but ultimately this is an issue that the RCSD must address in a permanent manner," the statement says. "
Pardon me? The RCSD"s responsibility should end the moment a student steps onto public transportation. At that point the student is no different than any other bus passenger and responsibility for ensuring the safety of all passengers passes to the transit authority. And once that student steps off the bus at the Liberty Pole, or any other stop, responsibility for pub;lic safety falls to the police.
As a self-identifying "young person", I'm highly offended by your characterization of the culprits.
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