Rochester, N.Y. - Graduation rates released Monday afternoon show that fewer Rochester students are graduating from high school.
The report is for students who entered ninth grade in 2007 and should have graduated in June 2011.
The state says the graduation rate for the Rochester City School District fell to 45.5 percent compared to 46.1 percent in 2010.
New York state's average rate increased from 73.4 percent to 74 percent in the last year.
Rochester also had the lowest graduation rate among the five largest school districts in the state.
Demetrica Glasgow, a city parent, is disappointed by the numbers, but says she doesn't want to place blame on the district.
"Everything starts at home," she says. "Whether it's the city schools or a private school. I just push, push, push. My husband and I ask [our sons] to go to school and get good grades and we'll take care of the rest."
Her oldest son is graduating with honors from Freddie Thomas High School later on this month.
School of the Arts senior Kaelyn Whitlock says she also had a good support system at home. She's graduating later this month and will go to Monroe Community College in the fall. However, she's known many students in the district who've dropped out before graduation.
"It's hard for them," she says. "Maybe it's the lifestyle they are used to or everything they've been around, but I've seen a lot of people give up."
Rochester Schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says truancy is the district's biggest problem. Vargas estimates that 4,000 students are absent in the district each day and the problem starts in kindergarten. The habit of missing school stays with the students until high school.
"The implication that today our youngsters are not graduating is severe," Vargas said after the numbers came out. "It impacts their lives and impact our community in a very meaningful and significant way. We cannot take this number lightly."
Vargas said he hopes the new All-City High School that will open in the fall will increase graduation rates because students will be in class longer.
"We can do much better and we are going to do much better than that," Vargas added.
Here were the rates for the other four major cities:
New York City: 60.9 percent
Buffalo: 54 percent
Syracuse: 48 percent
Yonkers: 66.2 percent