ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Education reform activists are calling for accountability and transparency from the Rochester City School District regarding how the district plans to spend $1.1 billion in funding provided by the Rochester Board of Education for the 2022-23 school year.

Activists and community groups organized a rally on Saturday with the theme "Halt the School-to-Prison Pipeline" for mobilization for public education.

What You Need To Know

  • According to RCSD Budget Book, funds are estimated to be around $1.1 billion

  • Activists are calling for funds to be implemented into programs

  • The theme is "Halt the School-to-Prison Pipeline"

“The school systems are really important to us [and] to our organization," community outreach coordinator of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence Christina Krewson said. "And its part of non-violence and creating a world where everyone can thrive."

“That money can really compact, could really assist in the development of our communities and also the school systems itself,” Citizen Action special project coordinator Jalil Muntaqium said. “And that’s our golden objective.”

Members are asking the funds to be spent on meaningful programs and strategies for students.

They include:

  •  Improved school lunches that students will eat
  •  Increased fully trained school safety officers.
  •  Mandatory ongoing anti-racist education for all students, teachers, administrators and non-teaching staff
  •  Full implementation of the 2016 RCSD Code of Conduct
  •  Establishing a Citizen Budget Review Committee
  •  Diversity and equity in hiring practices
  •  Full implementation of restorative practices
  •  Creating an environment that supports homeless students and their trauma

“We want to change the system around,” Muntaqium said. “We want to change this titanic of failure and moving to the shores of academic excellence.”

Members hope the money will not only help fund programs, but improve the trust between their community and the school system.

Spectrum News 1 has reached out to the district for comment.