Monday, January 13, 2014

County standoff end in sight; hybrid charter-district school discussion

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM

A messy stalemate in the County Legislature could be mostly resolved Tuesday night. The Legislature meets at 6 p.m. at the County Office Building, 39 West Main Street.
click to enlarge Carrie Andrews. - FILE PHOTO
  • Carrie Andrews.

Since December, Legislature Democrats have blocked a large borrowing measure that would fund dozens of county projects. They’ve been attempting to get Republican legislators to support their plan for a Legislature-led review of county-affiliated local development corporations.

Two of the LDC’s have been under investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. And late last year, the AG’s office charged four players in those LDC’s with bid-rigging.

The county has hired former State Attorney General Dennis Vacco and his firm to do an internal review of policies and procedures related to the LDC’s. But Vacco reports to County Executive Maggie Brooks, which Democrats say is a conflict of interest.

Brooks had a leading role in forming or operating the LDC’s in question, and her husband was one of the four LDC players arrested. (A judge is now weighing whether to dismiss the charges against Robert Wiesner on a technicality.)

Democrats aren’t likely to get the LDC review they’re seeking. And at least a few of the caucus’s members say they now plan to vote for the borrowing measure, which could provide enough votes for it to pass; borrowing measures require a two-thirds majority. And Democratic Minority Leader Carrie Andrews says the caucus as a whole is re-evaluating its position. The reasons: Costco and the county’s children’s detention center.

Costco plans to locate a store in the CityGate project at the corner of Westfall and East Henrietta roads. For that to happen, however, the county has to move its children’s detention center, which is on the CityGate site.
The state and county have agreed to move the children at the center to vacant space at the state’s Industry Residential Center. That space will serve as the foundation of the county’s new children’s detention center, though the county will have to add to it.

The state has completed renovations to the space on the county’s behalf. County officials say they need to borrow $9 million to pay back the state for the renovations, buy the space (which will likely carry a minimal cost), and do the expansions. Republicans want the funding included in the larger borrowing measure, which funds the other county construction projects. By Jeremy Moule

The Rochester school district’s Excellence in Student Achievement Committee will meet tonight for a presentation on starting a pilot school. The Boston school district has been experimenting with pilot schools since the late 1990’s. The schools are not charter schools, but share some similarities even though they are district schools. The presentation will be held at 6 p.m. at the district’s central office, 131 West Broad Street.

Several of the district’s schools will hold recruitment nights for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. On Tuesday, January 14, Charlotte High School will meet with parents and students at 4115 Lake Avenue, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, January 15, parents and students are invited to: School 41, at 279 Ridge Road West, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Rochester STEM High School, 655 Colfax Avenue, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Integrated Arts and Technology High School, 950 Norton Street, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

And on Thursday, January 16, Northeast High School will hold its recruitment night at 940 Fernwood Avenue, at 5 p.m. By Tim Louis Macaluso

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