It was only a year ago that hundreds of community members vehemently protested to the Rochester City School District Board of Education and former Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard (when he actually availed himself to the public) that RCSD School 6 – Dag Hammarskjold – remain open.
Assorted students, parents, teachers and administrators cited a variety of reasons why the board should elect to keep the building’s doors open, particularly the fact that the school is such an integral part of the Upper Falls section of downtown Rochester.
This week’s near unanimous decision to close School 6 has essentially rendered those valiant efforts moot. I do realize that the population of the City of Rochester has declined considerably over the past few decades, with the resultant reduction in overall RCSD student enrollment. Yet I do not believe it is necessary to commence an expansive building razing campaign, utilized primarily as a means to closing a currently significant budget deficit.
RCSD Needs To Investigate All Options With School 6
Instead of shuttering these buildings for good, would it be more feasible to just demolish a section – or sections – of certain under-utilized facilities – like School 6 – in order to prevent specific city neighborhoods from being turned upside down.
I am no structural engineer but it is difficult to imagine that this methodology could not be systematically employed. Adopting such an ideology would conceivably be far less disruptive to potentially impacted communities, in addition to being as cost effective – if not more so – than demolishing entire structures.
There are over 300 students currently matriculated at School 6, with an engaging number of curricular and extra-curricular programs made available to them. Will these same amenities be provided post-diaspora, particularly services the likes of which are offered through the neighboring Jordan Health Clinic Partnership. The Jordan Health Center is located right next door to School 6m, at 237 Upper Falls Boulevard.
Is the center going to pick up and move its entire operation to another downtown location, specifically to care for all of these soon-to-be displaced students? I think not. The loss of these affordable health services would be a huge blow to the Upper Falls community.
Come to think of it, the district office building at 131 West Broad Street appears to be operating at well below capacity as well. Why aren’t there any proposals to shutter this building as well, and have all staff, including the Superintendent Employee Group, subsequently scattered throughout the city?
There is no reason why students and lower level RCSD employees should have to fully shoulder the emotional cost of closing a yawning budget gap that was created by those who have been in power. It would only be fair to have all options on the table.
(2011). Rochester City School District: Dag Hammarskjold School 6.
Thomas, L.F. (2011). Education Accountability For Rochester Schools.
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