Tag Archives: Joseph Robach

Mayoral Control Lost Momentum

The Democrat and Chronicle reported today Assemblyman David Gantt would reintroduce his legislation giving Rochester’s mayor control of the school district.

This is not a surprise, as it has already passed the assembly. The bill has powerful allies in Gantt, Assemblyman Joe Morelle, Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and the business community. But the state senate is a lot trickier, as senators Joe Robach and Jim Alesi have expressed strong reservations.

Meanwhile, a lot has changed in the two years since then-Mayor Duffy campaigned for control of schools.

  • We have a new mayor who may not want the job as badly as his predecessor. Tom Richards  never talks about mayoral control unless prompted and doesn’t do so with any depth. While Richards has expressed support for mayoral control, I find it hard to believe Albany would hand over control of a $700-million-a-year, 32,000-student district to a man who lacks any outward passion for taking the reigns. There’s still time for Richards to show he wants control of the district. So far, he hasn’t laid out any vision.
  • Opposition to mayoral control has grown among area residents. The 2011 Voice of the Voter poll shows 50 percent of respondents oppose and 38 percent support mayoral control. In the 2010 poll, only 30 percent opposed mayoral control.
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s record on education has been knocked in polls and gains in test scores under his leadership were nearly wiped out.
  • The Rochester City School District is no longer run by mayoral-control-friendly Jean-Claude Brizard.  The district is in a state of relative calm compared to the turmoil of the last few years. Is it time to rock the apple cart as the school board searches for a new leader – one who may already be in the position? Maybe it’s the perfect time, if you want to install the mayor as chief.

Report: Upstate Needs Downstate

The Rockefeller Institute of Government, in a report called “Giving and Getting,” found New York State’s downstate residents pay far more in taxes than they receive in return. The study was first reported by Gannett News Service.

New Yorkers pay more than $80 million in taxes and fees.

Excerpt from report:

Upstate residents often believe they subsidize generous social welfare programs that disproportionately benefit Downstate;


New York City and the Downstate Suburbs “give” far more to Albany in taxes and other revenues than they “get” in state-funded expenditures. The Capital Region and the Rest of State, by contrast, get significantly more than they give.

The study finds New York City gives 45 percent of the state’s income tax revenues, but gets back 40 percent. Downstate suburbs give 27 percent, but get back 17 percent. Upstate, excluding the Capital Region, gives 24 percent and gets back 35 percent.

State Senator Joseph Robach has advocated making Upstate New York its own state. This report suggests Upstate would lose out on serious revenues.

“I don’t know if those numbers are right, but New York City drives the policies that we spend money on,” said Robach, who would like to see a referendum on secession and other issues in New York.