I just want to clarify that it's Scott Congel, not Robert Congel, who owns and is developing Medley Centre. Robert Congel is developing Destiny USA in Syracuse. Scott Congel is Robert's son.
A quick search of the state Board of Elections' campaign finance database shows no contributions from Scott Congel to Cuomo in 2012. It shows Robert Congel made a single $25,000 contribution to Cuomo's 2014 re-election committee.
I'm guessing it's just a matter of time before Congel sells to the Senecas and cashes in BIG. Get ready Rochester and Irondequoit - your "mixed-use lifestyle center" (in the form of a casino) is on the way...
If you add the donation amounts from the two articles, it seems Robert Congel gave Cuomo $60,000 in 2012.
SBPT has limited power to create autonomy in schools. They can determine academic programs which are contingent on CO approval, and other requirements of the state and board. They are also tough to manage when much of the funding and support for school programs can rapidly change in light of new board or superintendent policies. To say that SBPT is the same things as autonomy is disingenuous and demonstrates your lack of understanding of the process, and also points out your selective evidence and logic which not so surprisingly seems always directed toward three conclusions: 1) Teachers unions are corrupt 2) Teachers are wholly responsible for the low performance of students in the city schools 3) Charter school are the answer.
Sadly what you don't report on or advocate to change is the devastating impact of concentrated poverty on the individual lives of students and the culture which develops around it. The reason this exists is because of the political structure we have for funding and enrolling our schools. Our system allows for class segregation which often correlates with racial segregation that lets a district like W.Irondequoit (as one example) have a student poverty rate around 10% border the RCSD carrying close to 90%. The impact of poverty on learning has been well documented. It is true that we can all find examples poor students who succeed and wealthy students who fail, but if you look at overall trends in the performance of large numbers of students there is a direct correlation between wealth and performance.
Solely blaming teachers, unions, and supporting charters schools as the solution is like a doctor focusing on a cut on the arm of a patient who has cancer. Until we focus our efforts on bringing down this unjust system of racial and class segregation which exists across the country in urban area, we will not significantly change student performance. Again I will ask my question Mrs. Remis: How is your child's unionized, non-charter, low-poverty school performing?
You should hire Virginia Borden Maier. We already know the mall is dead.
This is reminiscent of the multi-year long farce that Bill Johnson was engaged in with the various developers who were going to re-invent Midtown. Or the fiasco with the Wilmot’s shell company and the Sibley Building. Those both ended badly. And Medley Center will go down the same drain. And once again the taxpayers will be left to pick up the tab for our elected leaders pipe dreams.
Are you aware that the developer receives a refund from the state for his PILOT payments by virtue of Medley being located in an Empire Zone? The Syracuse Post Standard has published the amount of these refunds for several years, via a searchable database on their website -- data through 2010. I asked Empire State Development for the amount for 2011, and it was nearly half a million dollars. So, it's not fair to say that Congel has paid his PILOT payments. The taxpayers of NY have paid his PILOT payments. By my estimation, NYS has refunded him (or the previous owner) over $2.5 million since 2007, while the project paid slightly less than that in PILOT and property taxes. Add this to whatever tax write off he is getting for depreciation on the building, and he is making money on this situation.
"If he walks away and that place goes dark, we'll receive no taxes," D'Aurizio says
How is that possible? If the PILOT is terminated, he would still own the property, would he not? Would not he still be responsible for taxes on the property's actual assessed value?
The "innovation" that Urbanski claims to want has been possible for more than a decade under the Living Contract provision of the RTA contract and the school-based planning team policy, no further governance change is legitimately warranted. (Unless the goal is more power for the RTA.) Under the Living Contract, teachers at any school can vote to waive provisions of the contract to make it more flexible, innovative, or student-centered, they just haven't done it. The School-based planning Policy gives schools unprecedented autonomy and teachers and parents decision-making rights . (These aren't advisory bodies, they are deliberative.) Few, if any, of these SBPTs have used this authority to build "community schools" or otherwise innovate, even though they've always had the power to do so. We should all be skeptical of Urbanski's latest "innovation" idea that is frankly, nothing more than a power grab disguised as reform. The latest in a long list of his Trojan horses.
Vargas' remedy of "conversion charters" is equally empty, but also gives the allusion of change, the latest in a long line of Superintendent "reformy" moves. The only substantive change that conversion charters will bring is to governance: the school-based planning team will be replaced with a board that may or may not include parents and teachers. Same contracts, same work rules. (Charters in name only.) The public should also be skeptical of Vargas' new calls for school autonomy given that he dismantled the student-based budgeting, the "gold standard" in practices to support school autonomy. He also appears to be unwilling to take full advantage of the new state teacher evaluation law to make staffing decisions based on effectiveness, rather than seniority, another key principle of school autonomy.
In either case, parents will be relinquishing their decision-making rights and getting very little, if anything in return. Let's hope they do their homework and don't buy the snake oil that either is peddling.
Now, I'm the last one to complain that RCSD employees are overpaid. We're generally not. We make middle class money for long hours and significant stress.
$1,000,000\10 = $100,000 Granted, that also includes benefits, payroll taxes, social security and the like. But that still seems a bit high. I would at least like more data.
A podcast is basically a radio show that you download or stream, they are awesome! There are thousands of them, about pretty much anything. Some are produced specifically as podcasts, and some are just recordings of radio shows. There are usually no commercials, but they might have live reads for sponsors.
Some of the ones I listen to are:
The Adam Carolla Show
The Dan Lebatard Show with Stugotz (daily Miami radio sports show)
Around the Horn (daily ESPN show)
The Football Ramble (English/European Soccer)
The B.S. Report (various sports/pop culture from Bill Simmons)
Men in Blazers (soccer show on Grantland network)
Marek vs. Wyshynski (daily hockey show)
NPR radio shows tend to all be available as podcasts too
To paraphrase Marc Maron (who I've never heard of), WTF is a podcast?
For anyone who knows a city student or works with them, this is a SCARY, SCARY situation. Kids need these important services. School staff can NOT address these issues as well as School Coordinators! It will cost more than just money in the long run.
AMEN HOWARD EAGLE...I COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF!!! Sad to see, but it appears that 9 people "dislike" hearing (reading) the truth. You keep speaking that truth brotha cuz the people that really care about our children are listening and reading!!!
Mr. Partner's statement illustrates the problem perfectly - RCSD admin is detached from what goes on day-to-day in their schools. As a former agency employee, I relied heavily on Student & Family Support Center Coordinators to help me ensure that I met my program (funders) goals. School SWs & counselors are already overwhelmed - to think they can step in and fill the void of a SFSC Coordinator is downright foolish. What RCSD will end up with is disorganization, disruption of academic time, duplication of services, violation of student & family privacy, violation of RCSD & school policy, and a lack of awareness among teachers & students as to what services are available and how to access them. The services will be less effective and less efficient, plain & simple.
SFSC Coordinators also act as liaisons to the community - not just the programs located in the school. How will that be replaced? By SWs that can only work with the Special Ed population? By Guidance Counselors that already have a caseload of 300 students? This is RCSD pulling the wool over everyone's eyes - even their own.
This is NOT about money - not when RCSD gives the Hillside Work Scholarship program $600,000 - a program that will only accept students already on the path to success and that will terminate a student with quickness if they fall by the wayside. This is going backwards. Really expected more from Vargas (a guidance counselor himself). What a shame.
This is a sad, sad state of affairs. If the center's counselors and social workers saw more than 5,000 students in the 2011 to 2012 school year, um...that's a lot of kids who received support. And now ten positions have been cut, so other social workers with be over-burdened in an attempt to deliver the same kind of quality care to the same numbers of students in a school district that is currently ranked one of the WORST in our state? Seems like you should be hiring social workers, not firing them.
I understand that counseling programs are expensive, but jail is even more expensive.
Is there REALLY no where else fat could have been cut? Seems like these kinds of support services are critical to the city youth population.
This piece deals only with the primaries. Other parties' candidates will be part of our general election coverage.
Even the stodgy D&C acknowledged Green Rochester is contributing new energy and ideas to the campaign. City – given Fein's longstanding hostility and inexplicable hardheadedness about the issues Emily Good addressed when she videotaped the arrest outside her home – simply ignores third party voices. They must complicate the (yawn) compliant, cop- and commerce-friendly tone you've developed in the last couple of years. City's lead articles used to be a fount of info and hope. Now it's a great guide to food, art and events. Oh yeah. And beer. Good beer coverage.
I would suggest voting for Margie. Don't know if she has any ties to rental property. A fresh new paradigm of viewpoints and thinking might be welcomed at this time. I see a vast difference in the way, for example, that Geneseo keeps up their properties and the way Brockport has. It's so sad to see the way some of these beautiful 'once-family' homes have been sliced and diced into 'compartments'. We must avail ourselves to preserve the family and a cherished sense of History as versus laying stakes everywhere for rental property!
The situation in the city (school district) won't change because the key issues aren't being addressed. I talked to teens all over and the ones who have the part time jobs at Wegmans usually are in college and doing well. I do this on my own as I love talking to teens.
Howard Eagle & Ronald Hall Will Officially Launch Campaign To Challenge Democratic Party's, Hand-Picked Candidates For School Board
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 ... 4:00 PM ... 4:00 PM
WHERE: In Front of All City High School (180 Ridgeway Avenue)
WHY: To officially launch their campaign to unseat incumbents, and help end the status-quo.
Ronald Hall was quoted as having said: "We sincerely hope that Rochester City School District parents, grandparents, guardians, and the general, tax-paying, public is ready to join us in declaring, and proving that enough is enough."
Howard Eagle said: "We have out-worked (in the streets), and out-organized the Democratic-Party-Machine, and defeated it in the past. Indeed, we did so in 2011. It is our plan and intentions to do the job twice as well in 2013."
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