LONSBERRY: It's Time To Take Over the Rochester School District

The Rochester City School District search for a superintendent should come to a screeching halt.

Not that it’s much of a search.

Over the weekend, four completely forgettable candidates paraded through, answering staged questions before row after row of empty seats. It was the perfect illustration of theapathy that failure breeds. The people don’t take the school district seriously, and neither should anyone else.

And the district – specifically the board – should stop this superintendent charade.

Because the school board can’t be trusted to pick the next leader of this district. Over decades, the Rochester school board has picked a succession of incompetents. Those superintendents,in partnership with the board and teachers union, have presided over the educational destruction of tens of thousands of young lives.

It is a crime against those students and the society in which they will live.

The Rochester City School District has shown itself to be very good at putting outsized paychecks into the pockets of failed adults. It is an excellent trough into which any numberof self-serving snouts are shoved. From the highest-paid school board members in New York, to armies of six-figure Central Office dolts, this district is good at using taxes meant to benefit children to enrich adults of troubled personality and limited ability.

It’s an absolute train wreck.

Which manifests itself in the derailed educations of young people who deserve better.

So, it’s time to take away the keys.

And we start with the superintendent.

Legal action should be taken, or enabling legislation should be passed, which will sideline the Rochester city school board and empower the mayor and/or the state education commissionerto take over substantive direction of this district and its schools.

Neither the mayor nor the commissioner are perfect, but both are better. And anything is preferable to more of the same.

For 30 years, the teachers union president and the school board have babbled nonsense for the TV cameras and cost the taxpayers ever more money while delivering to the studentsever less education. They have had opportunity after opportunity, era after era.

And it has all failed.

Incremental graphs and fudged numbers aside, this district has been in freefall for a generation.

It is so bad that the mayor herself sends her daughter to a private school, and counsels her friends to take their children out of the district.

Not because she doesn’t believe, but because she knows – knows how bad it is, and how little is being done to truly make it better.

So bench these people and send in a new quarterback.

In some form, in some fashion, to some degree, put someone with at least some demonstrated competence

in the driver’s seat.

The mayor has the confidence of the people, and five years’ experience running a big governmental operation. The commissioner is at the top of this profession, and has the experienceand ability to oversee this.

Whether a special master is appointed, whether some committee is created, whether the mayor picks the superintendent and senior staff, whether the state simply takes over, atthis stage, anything would be an improvement.

And at this stage, the stakes are so very high that something must be done. When the house is on fire, you must act now. And this house is on fire.

So the sooner action is taken, the better.

The superintendent search must stop. The board cannot hire another misfit. Plans for some basic improvement must begin now for the school year that starts in the fall. There isno time for studies or community forums or other time-wasting bull crap. Asses have to be kicked and names have to be taken and the ivory tower of entitlement and privilege at Central Office must be blown to smithereens. The lunatics have been in charge ofthe asylum for far too long, and there isn’t a day to waste.

The commissioner must act, or the mayor must act, or the legislature must act – or some combination of the three.

But the cries for help of Rochester’s parents and children cannot be ignored any longer.

There is a moral duty to act which devolves upon the mayor and commissioner.

The board has failed to do its job, they cannot fail to do their job.

It’s time to take over the Rochester City School District.

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