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Teachers Association reacts to RCSD plan

by Alexis Arnold

Rochester, N.Y. -- Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas said he modeled his plan for colleges to manage schools from his previous training with SUNY schools and the role they play operating colleges.

They have the authority of the superintendent to run the school. The college and university will have more flexibility, Vargas said.

That means the colleges would have control, Vargas would not.

When 13WHAM News asked Vargas why give control to an outside entity and if he worried this sends a message that hes failed the system, he said the message that we are sending is that there's a sense of urgency and we could benefit from the expertise and support of local colleges to manage our school.

One of those colleges could be Monroe Community College.

That's a perfect match particularly with MCC teaming up with the two technical and career education schools at the Edison complex, that's a natural, Rochester Teachers Association President, Adam Urbanski said.

Urbanski said the move could be a good one if it's a true partnership and might already have the support of MCC President Ann Kress.

I was involved in a conversation about that with the president of MCC and the superintendent of schools, Urbanski said. She's [Kress] got experience, she's a big supporter of public schools and teachers so I think that would be an ideal partnership.

While some may be on board, some parents have their doubts.

It brings concern to me because I have an impressionable daughter and without parenting experience it's hard to come in to teach children, Andrea Lewis said.

Schools in New York City and Buffalo are using this model.

Two Buffalo schools are under the operation of John Hopkins.

A spokesperson for the Buffalo Public School District told 13WHAM News that the two schools were deemed failing by the state.

The schools are a part of an Educational Partnership Organization or EPO model where the organization acts as the superintendent.

The districts spokesperson said they had to come up with funding in order to get state approval to move forward.

Vargas hasnt said if his plan would be similar.

He also wouldnt reveal which local colleges hes been in talks with.

He said this is an exploratory plan and he will reveal more details to board members next month.

Vargas said he wants to have the first school run by colleges open in 2015.
MCC declined to comment.

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Washington Times