City schools will receive a $4.5 million bonus from the state over the next three years, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that Rochester is one of four districts statewide to win competitive education grants for management efficiency.
Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, Ed. D., said the funds will be used to support a new pre-kindergarten program for three-year-old children at Audubon School No. 33; expanded-day learning for more students in 2013-14; a new textbook management system and other measures to continue improving the efficiency of District operations.
Along with today’s announcement, Dr. Vargas said that RCSD is one of five districts nationwide invited by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to apply for a grant that would help to support educational priorities and improve use of resources through the District’s budget process.
“This exceptionally positive news is the equivalent of a triple play in baseball,” Dr. Vargas said. “Our families already benefit from efficiencies that free up resources for teaching, learning, and student support. By winning this competitive grant, the District receives additional funds to benefit our families. The grant will also help us to create new efficiencies, which will further reduce non-essential spending and allow us to devote more resources to students.”
The award recognizes the District for achieving $9.5 million in cost reductions since Dr. Vargas joined the District in 2011, through efficiencies itemized in the grant application, including:
· Reduced use of contracted services
· Eliminating the Office of Strategic Planning
· Consolidating Central Office staff
· Improved oversight of health-care benefits to dependents
Dr. Vargas said that the state grant will allow the District to hire a staff member who can focus on continuing to improve the efficiency of administration and operations.
“We thank Gov. Cuomo for his strong support of education in the state budget and through grants like this one,” Dr. Vargas said. “Our District supports the Governor’s priorities for boosting student achievement and we hope to do well in future grant competitions.”
Rochester is one of four districts in the state that are expected to receive management efficiency grants totaling more than $12 million for achieving efficiency savings of nearly $22 million. Other districts include the Kenmore – Tonawanda School District in Erie County; Newburgh Enlarged City School District in Orange County; and the Queensbury Union Free School District in Warren County