The summer school math Rochester City Schools must pass comes down to one thing, according to the interim chief financial officer.
Carleen Pierce believes the needs of students will be met as the city schools learn to live within their means.
"Just because you want something doesn't mean you can afford it," Pierce said. "And it's the same sort of thing in the district."
Rochester schools will absorb sweeping staff, service reductions, and school closings.
Pierce says years of state and outside oversight have set the right course.
"State auditors, external auditors, we have the road map," Pierce said. "Now, we just have to get the job done."
Pierce wears CFO hats for the city schools, and East High School EPO, and as she juggles pandemic contingencies and school reopening plans for both, she knows it will be how she explains the dollars and cents to families that will rebuild a generation of faltering trust in the district.
"When financial people, bean counters, school financial leaders speak, it comes across in a different language," she said.
Pierce and district leadership won't have much of a summer. It'll take most of that, and the fall, to lay the foundation for rebuilt trust in the district, when its next budget plan is due November 1.