thumbnail of The Mayoral Debates
Hide -
<v announcer>WXXI and the Chamber of Commerce extend special thanks to the following companies for <v announcer>their invaluable support with a 1993 Democratic primary mayoral debate series, <v announcer>Bausch and Lomb, Chase Bank. <v announcer>Eastman Kodak Company. <v announcer>The Gleason Memorial Fund. <v announcer>Rochester Telephone Corporation. <v announcer>Xerox Corporation. <v reporter>The Rochester school district's budget is larger than the rest of the city budget, if <v reporter>for this and no other reason, education looms as one of the biggest single issues <v reporter>facing the new mayor of Rochester. <v reporter>Outgoing Mayor Tom Ryan has repeatedly called for spending restraint in the Rochester <v reporter>City School District. During an appearance on WXXI reports, the mayor <v reporter>went so far as to voice support for an appointed school board to replace the existing <v reporter>elected system. It's the existing school board that oversaw a series of reforms
<v reporter>enacted during the past six years, and those reforms were supposed to bring about <v reporter>noticeable gains in academic achievement, including higher test scores. <v reporter>But as a whole, the higher scores never came. <v reporter>According to the state's most recent report on schools, the Rochester School District has <v reporter>failed to meet most of the goals set in 1987, when reforms were originally put <v reporter>into place. Twenty four district schools have been named on the school's to watch <v reporter>list, and two district schools are on the state's list of schools under <v reporter>registration review, or as some call it the list of schools in trouble. <v reporter>Citing lackluster performance, groups like the District Parent Council are <v reporter>calling for more accountability. <v reporter>And some taxpayers wonder why the cost per student in Rochester is thousands more <v reporter>than similar areas like Syracuse and Buffalo. <v reporter>Add to this mix a rift between Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski <v reporter>and school superintendent Manny Rivera. <v reporter>Neither see eye to eye on a number of issues, including teacher pay, teacher
<v reporter>accountability and the salaries of central office staff. <v reporter>During a recent appearance on WXXI reports, Urbanski premiered a new proposal <v reporter>which would dramatically overhaul the current system. <v reporter>In essence, his plan would allow public school choice for parents and competition <v reporter>between city schools. But the proposal is still fresh, and any new plans <v reporter>to reform the system will probably meet a tough audience in the form of city taxpayers <v reporter>who've already gone through a number of reforms and have few tangible results to show for <v reporter>it. <v announcer>Live from the auditorium of Nazareth Academy, the 3rd Democratic primary mayoral debate. <v announcer>And now here is your moderator, Gary Walker. <v Gary Walker>Good evening. I'm Gary Walker of WXXI Reports, a news director of WXXI TV. <v Gary Walker>Welcome to those of you listening to us on our sister station, WXXI. <v Gary Walker>AM 13 70. Again, we extend our thanks to the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber
<v Gary Walker>of Commerce for making these debates possible. <v Gary Walker>The promotion research and some of the questions you'll hear tonight are a joint effort <v Gary Walker>by WXXI and get Rochester newspapers. <v Gary Walker>As in the past two debates, we invite you to keep score at home with the debate companion <v Gary Walker>cards published in the Democrat and Chronicle. <v Gary Walker>And now the candidates and the Democratic mayoral primary are Karen Noble Hansen, <v Gary Walker>Bill Johnson, Kevin Murray, <v Gary Walker>Nancy Padia, John Erbe and <v Gary Walker>Ruth Scott. As in the last two nights, we have a three part format. <v Gary Walker>The first segment consists of questions from the moderator on tonight's subject, which is <v Gary Walker>schools and education. We are trying to ask a specific questions as possible <v Gary Walker>to get his specific answers as possible. <v Gary Walker>The moderator reserves the right to clarify his questions. <v Gary Walker>The question of rotation has been determined by a lottery. <v Gary Walker>And we begin with Karen Noble Hanson. <v Gary Walker>Karen, I believe that all the candidates here tonight are in favor of consolidating some
<v Gary Walker>city and school board functions to cut costs. <v Gary Walker>And any savings, of course, are good. <v Gary Walker>But the school district's budget isn't a three hundred million dollar per year range, and <v Gary Walker>it's larger than the rest of the city's budget combined. <v Gary Walker>Aside from Consolidation's, what other specific things would you do as mayor <v Gary Walker>to reduce and control school spending? <v Karen Noble Hanson>Well, one of the factors that has been in place is a five percent cap on <v Karen Noble Hanson>district spending. And we have been often asked whether or not we <v Karen Noble Hanson>would want to see relief to that. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And I think we do have to hold the line on spending. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I honestly have not identified other specific cost savings because I <v Karen Noble Hanson>think the magnitude of the problem before us in terms of educating <v Karen Noble Hanson>our children is very significant. And I think this community has to <v Karen Noble Hanson>make a decision that we are going to educate our children, period, that whatever <v Karen Noble Hanson>the cost is to really educate children is what we need to be about. <v Karen Noble Hanson>So I've talked more in terms of how to make sure that we're getting the most
<v Karen Noble Hanson>for the dollars that we're spending. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And I realize that is difficult for taxpayers and the community at large <v Karen Noble Hanson>to necessarily agree with or understand. <v Karen Noble Hanson>But we are not doing the job of education for our kids today. <v Karen Noble Hanson>We need desperately to make sure that every school in Rochester is of the same quality <v Karen Noble Hanson>so that where we have a good program in School 12 or the Flower City School or other <v Karen Noble Hanson>programs within the city, that every school has it. <v Karen Noble Hanson>So when a family makes a choice, they really get the best education. <v Karen Noble Hanson>We need to be about the problem of having adequate librarians and adequate school <v Karen Noble Hanson>books. So when I talk about cutting budgets within the city, I <v Karen Noble Hanson>really do talk about cutting else- elsewhere and not within the city school district <v Karen Noble Hanson>itself. This is not there is no magic to this to say you're going to cut six percent <v Karen Noble Hanson>or seven percent across the board. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I think is is really doing a disservice to this city. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I think we need to get into office, see how we are using our our <v Karen Noble Hanson>finances effectively, and then deal with the question of cutting at that point.
<v Gary Walker>Question of reducing school spending other than consolidation. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Johnson, you have one minute to rebut. <v Bill Johnson>I think, Karen, that there are specific ways to reduce <v Bill Johnson>school spending. One only needs to look at the school district's budget. <v Bill Johnson>That was recently submitted and you will find, I think, many, many <v Bill Johnson>opportunities for reducing school costs without <v Bill Johnson>affecting instructional cost. <v Bill Johnson>It is clear that it requires less than three hundred million dollars <v Bill Johnson>of the school districts. Three hundred and fifty million dollar budget to <v Bill Johnson>educate our children. <v Bill Johnson>And I have set forth a clear plan that suggests that within that 50 <v Bill Johnson>to 60 thousand dollar a million dollar range, there ought to be opportunities <v Bill Johnson>for reducing cost. Now, the other thing, though, I think we need to face is this. <v Gary Walker>Ten seconds. <v Bill Johnson>The only way you can reduce costs is to reduce personnel in a district where there
<v Bill Johnson>is 75 percent of his budget is to personnel. <v Bill Johnson>And that is a bullet that has not been bitten by the school district. <v Gary Walker>And that is time the subject's schools spending reductions without other than <v Gary Walker>consolidation. And we're open to three minute open rebuttal. <v Ruth Scott>I think it's very important as we take a look at the issue of costs, that first we look <v Ruth Scott>at the issue of accountability. <v Ruth Scott>I believe that is very important in our schools, that we have accountability, that the <v Ruth Scott>children are learning effectively. <v Ruth Scott>And so any kind of cuts that we make have to be looked at in terms of how they affect <v Ruth Scott>accountability and how they affect the classroom, which is where the children are. <v Ruth Scott>So many times when people talk about cutting, they take what is called a meat ax <v Ruth Scott>approach. They say, OK, you can cut out the administrators, you can cut out this group <v Ruth Scott>and cut out that group. But they never look to see what effect that's going to have on <v Ruth Scott>the children, nor do they look to see what effect that has on matching dollars that come <v Ruth Scott>from the state and federal government. Well, I would like to see happen. <v Ruth Scott>Is it the state instead of giving us such categorical aid, give us a block grant <v Ruth Scott>for schools and the amount of money that they would give and let the schools use it in
<v Ruth Scott>the best way they know how that way. <v Ruth Scott>A lot of costs could be cut out that are now built in, because every time there's a new <v Ruth Scott>program, every time there's a state aid formula, people have to try to meet that. <v Ruth Scott>And when they try to meet that, what they do is add personnel. <v Ruth Scott>And it really doesn't make any sense. <v different speaker>The state control put out a report-. <v Nancy Padilla>Blue ribbon task force, released a report <v Nancy Padilla>that. Accomplished specific object objectives. <v Nancy Padilla>The report was comprehensive. It looked at issues such as leadership in the school's <v Nancy Padilla>financial management support services provided to the students, <v Nancy Padilla>transportation services that are provided by the city school district and <v Nancy Padilla>various other elements of the management structure of the city school district. <v Nancy Padilla>They did, in fact, make some very specific recommendations at the city school <v Nancy Padilla>district. Consider looking at contracting out <v Nancy Padilla>printing services that they study their policy.
<v Nancy Padilla>The transportation of city school district students. <v Nancy Padilla>More than 25000 students are being transported on <v Nancy Padilla>a daily basis. That we review our- our involvement in the <v Nancy Padilla>in the urban suburban program and a number of other recommendations. <v Nancy Padilla>So I think that I would agree that the number one priority <v Nancy Padilla>is the education of children and accountability of all employees <v Nancy Padilla>in the city school district. But there are always ways to be more effective and <v Nancy Padilla>efficient. And on the issue of finances. <v Kevin Murray>Recently, the controller put out a report and that report showed that Rochester <v Kevin Murray>had more central administration personnel and costs than any of <v Kevin Murray>the other districts throughout our state. <v Kevin Murray>Now, there's been some talk that there were flaws in that report, and that may very well <v Kevin Murray>be, but there's no doubt that a good close analysis of all the personnel <v Kevin Murray>would give us a large number of reductions that we could make in that central office. <v Kevin Murray>There's no reason why Rochester has to have a central office budget.
<v Kevin Murray>That's twice that of comparable districts. <v Gary Walker>And that is our time. Our next question goes to Kevin Murray. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Murray, you've made it a frequent campaign theme that you send your children to <v Gary Walker>public schools. That's true. <v Gary Walker>But in fact, this year you had all three of your children, the World of Inquiry School, a <v Gary Walker>high performing special school that is so sought after, the parents used to put their <v Gary Walker>children's name on the waiting list at birth. <v Gary Walker>As the school chooses its students by lottery, by all standards, it's not your <v Gary Walker>typical city school. Can you honestly recommend to other parents to send their children <v Gary Walker>to city schools if they're not lucky enough to be chosen for a magnet school like World <v Gary Walker>of Inquiry? <v Kevin Murray>I put my oldest son on the waiting list for the world of inquiry when he was born <v Kevin Murray>and in fact, he didn't get it. We went to 12 school for three years and we were very <v Kevin Murray>happy at 12 school. <v Kevin Murray>But then in the middle of the school year, we got a call that there was an opening at the <v Kevin Murray>world of inquiry. We went over, we met with the teachers, we met with the principal, <v Kevin Murray>and we met with some of the parents. And we felt it was a very good opportunity.
<v Kevin Murray>My oldest son went there. My twins went there starting in first grade. <v Kevin Murray>They also went to 12 school and kindergarten. <v Kevin Murray>We think they're getting a very good education there and we're very pleased. <v Kevin Murray>My oldest son went through Monroe Middle School next week, and as <v Kevin Murray>a parent, my wife and I were both very concerned with the safety of my child, <v Kevin Murray>as I'm sure every parent is concerned with the safety of their children. <v Kevin Murray>There are things that we can do. <v Kevin Murray>As mayor, I'm gonna make sure we have youth officers working in and around our schools. <v Kevin Murray>They'll get to know who belongs on school property and who doesn't. <v Kevin Murray>They'll get a relationship with the students that will be proactive and will avoid <v Kevin Murray>some of the violence. We can have innovative use of PAC PAC so that our students <v Kevin Murray>are going to and from school. <v Kevin Murray>We have a visible presence of PAC PAC officers there. <v Kevin Murray>These things will help reduce the violence. <v Kevin Murray>That's a problem, a perceived problem and a real problem if we can reduce that <v Kevin Murray>violence. We can make our schools do the things that the school reform
<v Kevin Murray>has promised. City schools have some of the best programs in the entire county. <v Kevin Murray>Too often people highlight the negatives and they exist and we have to take care <v Kevin Murray>of them. But there are great things happening in our city schools. <v Kevin Murray>There are children graduating from our city schools, going to Harvard and Yale <v Kevin Murray>and the best schools in this country. We need to make more schools work as well as some <v Kevin Murray>of the better ones. But we also have to emphasize the positive as well as <v Kevin Murray>the negative. <v Gary Walker>Nancy Padilla, you have one minute. <v Nancy Padilla>The city school district has a number of quality programs that are offered to students <v Nancy Padilla>in the district. When I served on the school board and I served for eight years, <v Nancy Padilla>I was very concerned about the inequities that exist within the city's school district. <v Nancy Padilla>And I was a strong advocate for ensuring that resources were <v Nancy Padilla>allocated to all the schools. <v Nancy Padilla>I think it's important that we recognize that as we talk about the issue of choice, <v Nancy Padilla>that we understand that choice is may not be the most
<v Nancy Padilla>feasible position to take if, in fact, we cannot assure <v Nancy Padilla>that all students have access to the quality programs that are offered in some <v Nancy Padilla>of the schools. It is the goal of the city's school district board of education <v Nancy Padilla>and the employees and those of us who served in the district to ensure that <v Nancy Padilla>every child has a quality education. <v Gary Walker>OK. The question was, can you recommend other city schools other than the high performing <v Gary Walker>specialty magnet type schools? We have three minutes open debate. <v Gary Walker>Let's go. <v Bill Johnson>Now, This school district has always been able to attract <v Bill Johnson>the children of people like Kevin Murray and Bill Johnson. <v Bill Johnson>That is not the issue. And that is why Kevin is so static about the schools, <v Bill Johnson>because he can get special at school like the world of inquiry. <v Bill Johnson>There are people who would die to have their children in those schools, but yet they must <v Bill Johnson>send their children to schools where, while they have tremendously dedicated <v Bill Johnson>staff. They are short of resources. <v Bill Johnson>They are in old buildings, they are deb-. <v Bill Johnson>They have decrepit facilities.
<v Bill Johnson>And you and others continue. <v Bill Johnson>And you and the people who can constitute the majority faction of the school <v Bill Johnson>board. Your cronies have consistently <v Bill Johnson>refused to extend the reforms and the good things to <v Bill Johnson>all children in this district. <v Bill Johnson>And so, Kevin, I think what you what you should do as a public servant, you should send <v Bill Johnson>your. You should put your children on a bus and send them to number two school and number <v Bill Johnson>four school. And then you would get a full measure of what this district is like. <v Bill Johnson>That would that would demonstrate your commitment. <v John Erbe>You're absolutely right. There are pockets of excellent excellence in our school <v John Erbe>system. There are some schools that work very well. <v John Erbe>But look at these numbers. In nineteen eighty nine twenty, some twenty seven hundred <v John Erbe>students entered the ninth grade in the city of Rochester. <v John Erbe>And this year we graduated, I believe it's eight hundred and thirty four of those <v John Erbe>students were failing the majority of our students. <v John Erbe>And there's a lot of reasons for them. One was talked about a little earlier that too <v John Erbe>much of our resources are going into administration.
<v John Erbe>We've had an increase in the last 10 years of a thousand positions in the city school <v John Erbe>district. And yet I spoke last week to the principal of East High, and he told me <v John Erbe>that in the seven years he had been there, there has been a reduction in school based <v John Erbe>staff, for instance, counselors. <v John Erbe>Seven years ago, there were nine counselors. Today there's six counselors. <v John Erbe>There are no attendance teachers. We have to bring the resources back into the schools, <v John Erbe>into the classrooms where they can make a difference. <v John Erbe>And we have to replicate-. <v Gary Walker>one minute. <v John Erbe>-These pockets of excellence that we do have in all the schools. <v John Erbe>But it's going to take a real shake up to be able to do that. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I find it absolutely incredible that one person could get three children into <v Karen Noble Hanson>the world of inquiry school as I went around this city talking <v Karen Noble Hanson>to families. Street after street, they have told me that they could identify <v Karen Noble Hanson>those schools, that they would really want their children to go to, and they're five or <v Karen Noble Hanson>six really fine schools and there is wa- there are waiting lists. <v Karen Noble Hanson>The fact that one family does so well is really something that we need to ask
<v Karen Noble Hanson>how this happens. How could this happen? <v Kevin Murray>Let me answer it, because the school district policy is that if you knew how the school <v Kevin Murray>district worked, you'd understand the school district policy. <v Kevin Murray>If one sibling gets in, the others automatically get in. <v Kevin Murray>And that's true for every single student who gets into the world of inquiry or any other <v Kevin Murray>schools. If one child gets in automatically, the other gets in. <v Kevin Murray>That's the policy of the Rochester City School District. <v Kevin Murray>And those who have children in the schools know it. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Murray. That's time. Mr. Murray. That's that is time. <v Gary Walker>OK, we'll all have time for this later. <v Gary Walker>Question for Mr. Erbe, you are against an appointed school board saying that the <v Gary Walker>board must be more accountable to the voters and not less. <v Gary Walker>Then you say if you're elected mayor you would appoint a commissioner of education to <v Gary Walker>quote represent the interests of parents, students and taxpayers. <v Gary Walker>Isn't that what the elected school board is supposed to do? <v Gary Walker>Why create another position to duplicate what is supposed to be the school board's job? <v John Erbe>I'm going to create a commissioner in education so that we have accountability, the
<v John Erbe>taxpayers, the teachers and the families of this community have accountability on the <v John Erbe>critical issues facing our educational system today. <v John Erbe>And that's budget. Where's the money going? <v John Erbe>How is it being spent? It's performance. <v John Erbe>Why aren't we graduating more of our young people? <v John Erbe>Why aren't scores where they should be. <v John Erbe>And on discipline, we need a strict policy on discipline to end the violence <v John Erbe>in the schools. Too many young families are choosing to leave <v John Erbe>the city because of their concern for the safety of their young people in the- in <v John Erbe>city schools. And I've talked to many teachers who are also concerned about their own <v John Erbe>personal safety in city schools. <v John Erbe>We have to have daily accountability and ongoing working relationship <v John Erbe>with the school district to identify solutions to these problems. <v John Erbe>In the past, there's been concern raised only at budget time. <v John Erbe>There's usually arrows being shot back and forth between the school district <v John Erbe>and the city about budget concerns. <v John Erbe>We need to have an ongoing relationship at the commissioner level between
<v John Erbe>city government and the school district so that we have accountability and appointed <v John Erbe>school board. Doesn't make sense. We need more accountability between <v John Erbe>the parents, the teachers, the families, the taxpayers of the school of this city <v John Erbe>and their school district. Taking that away from the taxpayers doesn't <v John Erbe>solve any problems. I would be in favor of looking at maybe a nonpartizan <v John Erbe>school board, a school board that was elected at a different time than regular. <v John Erbe>The regular elections are so that we could have more of a focus. <v John Erbe>I would be in favor, if possible, if we had state enabling legislation to have a school <v John Erbe>district budget submitted directly to the taxpayers. <v John Erbe>These are things we can look at, but for now, we need a commissioner in education that <v John Erbe>calls for and represents the mayor in negotiations with the city school district. <v Gary Walker>And that is time, [others start talking] that is time. And now Ruth Scott has a minute. <v Ruth Scott>Thank you. I really don't feel that you need to have a commissioner of education. <v Ruth Scott>I as a person who is very conversant with schools, I am qualified up through <v Ruth Scott>the superintendency level. I've worked in schools all my life, I've had experiences
<v Ruth Scott>around the country and working with people and in cities like Boston and Seattle, where <v Ruth Scott>the mayor has called into accountability the school district, without having this <v Ruth Scott>commissioner, that's worked better because we don't need another person between the <v Ruth Scott>citizens of our community and the mayor. <v Ruth Scott>I think the mayor needs to take on some of these roles. <v Ruth Scott>I think people can do a lot of sort of going back and forth in terms of the numbers, <v Ruth Scott>as we do now with the finance department and the school district. <v Ruth Scott>But when it comes to policy that comes to the issues that the parents are worried about, <v Ruth Scott>I think the mayor has to have that relationship with the superintendent. <v different speaker>I think-. <v Gary Walker>And Well, let's please the question was Mr. Erbe's <v Gary Walker>proposal for commissioner as opposed to the elected school board or appointed school <v Gary Walker>board? Now, let's have an open talk. <v Kevin Murray>One thing that we can look at is we need to have more oversight of the administration <v Kevin Murray>as school board. We can have our Budget Office looking at monthly key indicators <v Kevin Murray>so that we know what's happening in the school district. <v Kevin Murray>If there's cost overruns or there's revenue problems, we'll know them immediately
<v Kevin Murray>and we'll be able to take corrective action. <v Kevin Murray>We'll know what the situation is so we don't get surprises. <v Kevin Murray>These are things that consolidation of services will help. <v Kevin Murray>In addition to saving money by reducing the bureaucracy, consolidating services <v Kevin Murray>also gives the city government for the first time knowledge of what's going on <v Kevin Murray>within the school district. And without that knowledge, it's very hard to make <v Kevin Murray>intelligent decisions on budgeting that you can remove this or you can cut this or you <v Kevin Murray>need to increase that. What you need to do is have good information. <v Kevin Murray>If we consolidate services, we'll get that good in information. <v Kevin Murray>If we have proper oversight and get key indicators of the budget on a monthly basis, <v Kevin Murray>we'll know what's going on. And only then can we make intelligent decisions. <v Kevin Murray>Otherwise, we will be using a meat ax because we really won't know what we're doing. <v Kevin Murray>We have to use a scalpel. We have to go in and cut out that which is not necessary. <v Kevin Murray>And the only way we can do it is to get good information. <v Bill Johnson>The problem with uh- the problem with a commissioner of education as well as the deputy
<v Bill Johnson>mayor for education, which Karen has proposed suggest <v Bill Johnson>a little too much interference in the day to day affairs of the school district. <v Bill Johnson>I have pro- propose another approach which really focuses on <v Bill Johnson>the budget. I think that the mayor and the city council have not exercise fully <v Bill Johnson>that oversight control over the school district budget. <v Bill Johnson>But I don't think we ought to be interfering in the day to day operations of the school <v Bill Johnson>district. And I just can't conceive of how a commissioner of education would not be <v Bill Johnson>construed as on an equal basis with the superintendent of schools. <v Bill Johnson>I think we've got to keep that line very, very, very clear. <v Bill Johnson>And I think there are controls. <v Bill Johnson>Kevin began to outline some of those. And I think the mayor and the city council can <v Bill Johnson>take-. <v Gary Walker>One minute. <v Bill Johnson>-to bring that school budget under control. That's what we ought to be concerned with. <v Speaker>[people talk over one another] <v Nancy Padilla>I think what this community needs is a long term commitment to education. <v Nancy Padilla>And we begin that commitment by allowing the members of this community to elect <v Nancy Padilla>the members of the Rochester Board of Education by allowing the parents and the
<v Nancy Padilla>voters of this community to aggressively work to elect people that <v Nancy Padilla>are committed, that are qualified and that are going to fight hard for the children <v Nancy Padilla>of this community. I think what we need-. <v Gary Walker>30 seconds <v Nancy Padilla>-Is a policy of effective communication among leaders, leaders of <v Nancy Padilla>city council of the mayors office, school board and other leaders of this community. <v Nancy Padilla>We have to build partnerships around education. <v Nancy Padilla>We have to enhance partnerships that include community, parents, business <v Nancy Padilla>and a number of other people. <v Gary Walker>10 seconds <v Nancy Padilla>who are going to move the education reform agenda forward. <v Gary Walker>And that is our time. Next question is for Ruth Scott. <v Gary Walker>Ruth in the city of Buffalo, the school district must go for budget approval to the city <v Gary Walker>council and the mayor. Unlike the fiscal independence the school district enjoys in <v Gary Walker>Rochester, the result in Buffalo has been a yearly ugly budget squabble <v Gary Walker>and frequent lawsuits. However, Buffalo taxpayers get about the same <v Gary Walker>results as Rochester for about two thousand dollars less per pupil. <v Gary Walker>Is it time to do away with the revenue allocation formula and treat the school district's
<v Gary Walker>budget like any other city department budget? <v Ruth Scott>Well, I think the whole issue of what the budget should be like is something <v Ruth Scott>that we do need to look at and decide what it's going to be. <v Ruth Scott>I know that the current allocation formula is something that will be up for grabs in <v Ruth Scott>terms of the new administration, because that administration has to determine how it is <v Ruth Scott>going to actually look at it. I believe, though, that performance indicators <v Ruth Scott>is what we ought to be looking at and not just the dollars. <v Ruth Scott>I don't know. And I don't think anybody knows how much it costs to educate children <v Ruth Scott>in the city school district. I think that's part of our problem is we do not have that <v Ruth Scott>information. I do need to to say, though, that one of the things that we <v Ruth Scott>have tried to do over time is to make sure that the school district began to share <v Ruth Scott>that information with the city. <v Ruth Scott>And when I was a city Council finance chair, I insisted that they come over and present <v Ruth Scott>the budget long before that, all they ever did was just just hand you the budget. <v Ruth Scott>And we had no hearing until the public hearing and we had to vote on the budget. <v Ruth Scott>And I instituted a system of looking at it.
<v Ruth Scott>I think that certainly if other districts are doing a better job with less money, it's <v Ruth Scott>something that we need to look at. But in the long run, we need to make sure that <v Ruth Scott>children are being served no matter what decisions we make about the funding. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Erbe you have one minute. <v John Erbe>We have to realize that we do have limited resources. <v John Erbe>There are not unlimited funds anymore, either from the federal, state or local taxpayers. <v John Erbe>There is a commitment in this community to having an educational system that works. <v John Erbe>We need accountability from the school district to the taxpayers and to the city <v John Erbe>government, which raises the revenues for the school district. <v John Erbe>That's why a commissioner in education makes a lot of sense. <v John Erbe>You have someone who has a background in education and finance who can have a year round <v John Erbe>dialog with the school district, because we've seen too often here in the city of <v John Erbe>Rochester where the budget issues just get focused at budget time. <v John Erbe>We have to have a better understanding of limited resources and how we can work together <v John Erbe>to make those resources go further. <v John Erbe>Consolidation of services have been talked about endlessly in this community. <v John Erbe>Let's just do it. Combine the law department, purchasing personnel, payroll.
<v John Erbe>We can save money. It takes a day to day working relationships with the <v John Erbe>school district in order to accomplish that and to have real accountability, not just <v John Erbe>fights at budget time. <v Gary Walker>OK. The question was how we should handle budgeting. <v Gary Walker>Should it be the fiscal independence agreement or budgeting with more oversight from the <v Gary Walker>mayor and the city council? We have three minutes let's go. <v Bill Johnson>I've already said that the mayor and the city council must have more oversight. <v Bill Johnson>And that means that I think the fiscal independence agreement has to be <v Bill Johnson>scrutinized. If not if not scuttle. <v Bill Johnson>I think the problem with this school district is that they take the five percent <v Bill Johnson>not as a ceiling, but as a floor. <v Bill Johnson>Every year, the school district budgets the full five percent of the property <v Bill Johnson>tax. They have been very successful, are going to Albany and get a <v Bill Johnson>tremendous increase in state aid. <v Bill Johnson>This budget has grown 77 percent over the last nine <v Bill Johnson>years. Contrast it to the city's growth of 27 percent, almost three times
<v Bill Johnson>the growth. And that's because this school district has not had to show the kind of <v Bill Johnson>prudence which is necessary in these times. <v Bill Johnson>I believe that they need to come in and justify their <v Bill Johnson>expenditures and they don't have to do it. Now, the review of the budget is almost <v Bill Johnson>automatic. They send it across through a few cursory questions to Mayne's as one <v Bill Johnson>who is really subjected that budget to tremendous analysis. <v Bill Johnson>But other than that, because people say, well, we are not elected as school commissioners <v Bill Johnson>and it is pass hands off. We've got to change that relationship. <v Bill Johnson>We need to do it now. <v Speaker>[people talking over one another] <v Kevin Murray>But I'm recommending that every two years we review the fiscal independence <v Kevin Murray>agreement. We look as to whether or not the sharing of revenues is appropriate. <v Kevin Murray>Is a city in the school district getting their proper share? <v Kevin Murray>That's the time once every two years when those decisions can be made. <v Kevin Murray>We can look at is the city getting more revenue from the state and federal government <v Kevin Murray>than they need in those years? Maybe the school districts getting less. <v Kevin Murray>But every two years you review it. <v Kevin Murray>Nothing can be put in place for ten or fifteen years.
<v Kevin Murray>And that relationship still be appropriate over the long run. <v Kevin Murray>We have to review it every two years and make sure whatever the relationship is <v Kevin Murray>is appropriate one. <v Speaker>[people talking over each other] <v Karen Noble Hanson>One of the reasons why I talked about the deputy director for education is exactly <v Karen Noble Hanson>the kind of things we're talking about. <v Karen Noble Hanson>It seems to me that the mayor's office doesn't need a deputy excuse me, deputy <v Karen Noble Hanson>mayor for rubber chicken dinner routes. <v Karen Noble Hanson>What we really need is somebody who is responsible for to help the mayor's office and <v Karen Noble Hanson>the city council make sure not only that oversight happens in a timely manner, <v Karen Noble Hanson>but besides, that helps to bring the private resources to the school district that they <v Karen Noble Hanson>themselves have not had time or the ability to do so, that we're we are dealing with the <v Karen Noble Hanson>federal government to bring Wyk and Headstart dollars to the table so that we have a <v Karen Noble Hanson>different approach with the county in terms of providing nurses and medical service. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And if we can't bring the county dollars into have the medical programs that we used to <v Karen Noble Hanson>have, deal with the health networks, deal with BlueCross BlueShield, have a health <v Karen Noble Hanson>response in the schools to bring privacy resources like the city has, like copiers
<v Karen Noble Hanson>and computers from the private sector to the school, while we are also dealing <v Karen Noble Hanson>with it with a financial oversight. <v Gary Walker>Ten seconds <v Karen Noble Hanson>That I think is terribly important. So I think the position is not wasted on this kind of <v Karen Noble Hanson>administration. <v Gary Walker>And that is time. Our next question is for Nancy Padilla. <v Gary Walker>Nancy, you sat on the school board for many years, as well as during the installation of <v Gary Walker>the reform agenda. Can you give us two specific things you personally <v Gary Walker>did while on the board that increased student performance? <v Gary Walker>And tell us how you measure that success. <v Nancy Padilla>There were several initiatives that I was involved in, specifically <v Nancy Padilla>policies. One was the division of the homework policy <v Nancy Padilla>and that policy called for the employees and students learning <v Nancy Padilla>that learning is a lifelong process. <v Nancy Padilla>And it also takes place outside of the classroom that could be measured <v Nancy Padilla>based on the activities that the students were involved in on a daily basis.
<v Nancy Padilla>The chemical abuse policy, that called for <v Nancy Padilla>students and parents to be informed of the <v Nancy Padilla>impact of chemical abuse on them and their and <v Nancy Padilla>the impact on student performance on a daily basis and what employees <v Nancy Padilla>needed to do to work with families and students to ensure <v Nancy Padilla>that they received services from the city school district. <v Nancy Padilla>The whole restructuring effort that took place in the city's school district called <v Nancy Padilla>for the identification of Cluster Systems home based guidance program <v Nancy Padilla>that called for teachers working more directly with students and parents <v Nancy Padilla>and ensuring that students and parents were understanding <v Nancy Padilla>the process in the classroom and contact was being made on a one <v Nancy Padilla>to one basis. <v Nancy Padilla>The MAP program, where a number of students <v Nancy Padilla>who were specifically the emphasis was-.
<v Gary Walker>10 Seconds. <v Nancy Padilla>-In languages, math, sciences and other areas. <v Nancy Padilla>The magnet programs were a good example of students making progress. <v Nancy Padilla>The School of the Arts, a number of the graduates of the city's school district have gone <v Nancy Padilla>on to college and are attending area universities and other universities <v Nancy Padilla>nationally. <v Gary Walker>OK, and that is time. And Mr. Murray, you have one minute. <v Kevin Murray>Well, certainly the area of substance abuse, that's an area where the mayor can <v Kevin Murray>be helpful to the schools. Again, I think youth officers working in and around <v Kevin Murray>our schools, getting to know our students can be helpful. <v Kevin Murray>It helps in many ways to have a better relationship if the police and students <v Kevin Murray>get to know each other, not when there's a crisis, but they get to know each other in <v Kevin Murray>their regular business of going to school. <v Kevin Murray>It also will help be helpful when there's a problem. <v Kevin Murray>If a youth officer can call out by name an individual that can diffuse <v Kevin Murray>a difficult situation, substance abuse, their programs. <v Kevin Murray>Those are areas where the city government can clearly work in cooperation
<v Kevin Murray>with the school district to be helpful to both. <v Kevin Murray>Those are things I think we have to work cooperatively with the school district where the <v Kevin Murray>city can help and the school district can help the city so everyone gains. <v Gary Walker>OK, the question was specific to Ms Padilla's uh time on the school board. <v Gary Walker>I think we can open up to the actual reform of the last six years, if you'd like to talk <v Gary Walker>about that. We have three minutes go. <v Ruth Scott>Well, the reform of the last six years has been a failure. <v Ruth Scott>I think everybody agrees with that. <v Ruth Scott>While we have some schools that are OK, there are many schools that are not great. <v Ruth Scott>And it is important that every child in this district have an opportunity to go <v Ruth Scott>to a great school. Not only that, it is absolutely necessary that those schools <v Ruth Scott>be void of violence. I think it's absolutely irresponsible that we have not <v Ruth Scott>come to find a way to get rid of violence in the schools, particularly in terms of the <v Ruth Scott>guns issue. I don't know why it took the district so long to discuss guns, should not <v Ruth Scott>have been discussed. The policy should have been very clear. <v Ruth Scott>They ought not to be any guns in school. <v Ruth Scott>When there are guns in school they are taken away. The police should be called.
<v Ruth Scott>Whatever has to happen should happen at that point. <v Ruth Scott>In addition to that, it's really important that when we measure the success of schools, <v Ruth Scott>it's not a measure of how cooperative we are or how helpful we are to students or <v Ruth Scott>teachers. The measure of the effectiveness of schools is what are your graduation <v Ruth Scott>rates? And ours are about 50 percent. <v Ruth Scott>What are the ways in which students get jobs when they get out of school? <v Ruth Scott>And ours- our placement rate is very dismal. <v Ruth Scott>There are a lot of things that can be done with the other agencies in our community to <v Ruth Scott>help in that. But we ought to be doing more with the Jobs to Work Career Path program <v Ruth Scott>that the state has identified in the East Harlem schools. <v Ruth Scott>Those schools were as bad as any school in this district for many, many years <v Ruth Scott>when the citizens of that community decided to come together around the issue of <v Ruth Scott>education and insist that their school district respond to <v Ruth Scott>the needs of its students. That is when change happen. <v Ruth Scott>And I believe as the mayor of this city, I have a responsibility to challenge <v Ruth Scott>the school board to make it happen. And if they don't make it happen, then I would
<v Ruth Scott>exercise the oversight I have in terms of budget issues, in terms of where we go from <v Ruth Scott>here, in terms of holding them to accountability. <v Speaker>[people talking over each other]. <v Ruth Scott>One of the dilemmas that we have, is that this community has taken a long time <v Ruth Scott>to recognize that our educational system was not working. <v Ruth Scott>And in the 1980s was the first 10 minutes community acknowledged that it was not <v Ruth Scott>working and that we needed major reforms. <v Ruth Scott>My understanding was that you were. You were an employee of the city's school district <v Ruth Scott>and I recognize that there are weaknesses in the system, but I think it's very <v Ruth Scott>important that we also recognize it. <v Ruth Scott>It took a lot of effort and energy to even convince other elected <v Ruth Scott>officials that we need a change in the educational system. <v Ruth Scott>It took a lot of effort to go out and lobby aggressively to bring in the resources-. <v Gary Walker>30 seconds. <v Ruth Scott>-and identify the issues to work with the issues, that- that had to be addressed. <v Ruth Scott>There are some serious problems still in this community that we must contend
<v Ruth Scott>with, but I think it's irresponsible for us not to acknowledge that <v Ruth Scott>change does not come overnight and that it needs. <v Ruth Scott>We need aggressive-. <v Gary Walker>10 seconds. <v Ruth Scott>-working together cooperatively to move this system. <v Ruth Scott>That's what change is about. <v Gary Walker>And that's time. <v Gary Walker>Our next question is for Bill Johnson. Mr. Johnson in July on WXXI <v Gary Walker>reports, which can be seen Friday nights at nine 30 and WXXI Channel 21. <v Gary Walker>I'm your host. <v Speaker>[laughter] <v Gary Walker>In July, on- on the program, Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski <v Gary Walker>unveiled a plan for public school choice, not private, but only public schools, <v Gary Walker>a free market system where public schools would compete for students. <v Gary Walker>Urbanski says schools and teachers competing to stay in business is the ultimate <v Gary Walker>accountability. Is this an idea worth pursuing? <v Gary Walker>Or are you wary of any union sponsored reform measure? <v Bill Johnson>We've learned to be wary of any union sponsored reform movement. <v Bill Johnson>But let me just say that I'm pleased Dr. Urbanski is moving in that direction
<v Bill Johnson>for a number of months now. I have been publicly questioning <v Bill Johnson>the need to examine the notion of choice and vouchers 10, 15 <v Bill Johnson>years ago. I would have been unalterably opposed to that notion because <v Bill Johnson>of the fear that poor children and minority children would be <v Bill Johnson>the losers in any kind of voucher or choice system. <v Bill Johnson>It is now clear to me that public schools must be subjected to competition. <v Bill Johnson>And the only way we're going to get that is by allowing parents <v Bill Johnson>more latitude in where their children can enroll in school, even if that means <v Bill Johnson>that those children should be enrolled in private and parochial schools. <v Bill Johnson>Now, I want to put some before I will commit myself unalterably <v Bill Johnson>to the notion of choice. I've got to be assured that discriminatory decisions <v Bill Johnson>are not going to be made. The thing that bothers me about private and parochial schools <v Bill Johnson>is they exercise absolute control over who they enroll
<v Bill Johnson>and they abso- and they exercise absolute control over who they keep. <v Bill Johnson>And the public schools do not have that kind of discretion. <v Bill Johnson>And so I think that what we must begin to do is to force competition. <v Bill Johnson>That is the only way the public schools are going to achieve the goals that they <v Bill Johnson>are set up to establish. And I would welcome Dr. Urbanski's <v Bill Johnson>genuine desire to foster real dialog <v Bill Johnson>around choice. <v Gary Walker>Rebuttal by Karen Noble Hansen. <v Karen Noble Hanson>My understanding of what Mr. Urbanski suggested really had to do with primarily <v Karen Noble Hanson>the public school system. And so I'm going to address that particular point now. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I think that it has merit in parents, as you said, Bill, really need to be <v Karen Noble Hanson>more involved and have a way to be involved with where the children are. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And for many parents who have two and three children in schools across the city. <v Karen Noble Hanson>No- no car and work during the day. <v Karen Noble Hanson>It is very difficult for those families to be involved in the school.
<v Karen Noble Hanson>So we need to think differently about what we're doing. <v Karen Noble Hanson>The difficulty I have is that while every parent can almost name <v Karen Noble Hanson>several schools that they would like their children to go into, there are not there is <v Karen Noble Hanson>not a quality, as you indicated earlier, among these schools throughout the city. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And I would want to know, number one, that the equality- that there is <v Karen Noble Hanson>equal education within these schools. And number two, that the kinds of policies we heard <v Karen Noble Hanson>earlier about being assured your children can all get into the world of inquiry school <v Karen Noble Hanson>or something is looked at again so that everybody has an opportunity. <v Gary Walker>And that is time. The subject is public school choice, as opposed by the union president, <v Gary Walker>Mr. Urbanski. We have three minutes. Go ahead. <v Ruth Scott>I believe that the whole public choice, public school choice issue is a very important <v Ruth Scott>one. But I also think in addition to that, whenever the fact arises <v Ruth Scott>that you have long waiting lists of children, you can lose a whole generation of kids <v Ruth Scott>before anybody does anything about it. So it seems to me that you ought to make more <v Ruth Scott>choices of those kinds of programs within your school system.
<v Ruth Scott>I believe that choice in public schools ought to be extended, but it ought to be extended <v Ruth Scott>not only across the public schools in this community. <v Ruth Scott>It ought to be extended so that you can go to any public school within this <v Ruth Scott>county, including BOCES, because I know that will upset everybody, <v Ruth Scott>but also upset the apple cart. <v Ruth Scott>But it's. Seems to me that if we can get more people engaged in this business of finding <v Ruth Scott>the schools that meet the needs of their children, we will have a better <v Ruth Scott>opportunity to make sure that the people in our community really learn and really are <v Ruth Scott>prepared for the 21st century. <v Speaker>[people talking over one another]. <v Gary Walker>Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. <v Bill Johnson>You got the last one. You got the last one. <v Bill Johnson>I want to make this point. We need to go farther in choice. <v Bill Johnson>In Minnesota and California there are there are proposals for <v Bill Johnson>what is called charter schools, which allow people to come in and <v Bill Johnson>essentially they are given the right to establish their own schools. <v Bill Johnson>They are given them the money from state aid to support those schools.
<v Bill Johnson>And I think that we are beginning to hear a lot of concerns in our neighborhoods <v Bill Johnson>about not just choice, but what is being taught in those schools and that the education <v Bill Johnson>that is being taught there is not necessarily <v Bill Johnson>conducive to the enrollments. I think that we have to- and I would welcome Dr. Urbanski <v Bill Johnson>to go farther and talk about total reform, greater control <v Bill Johnson>of the state, Education Department and unions over our schools so we can have true <v Bill Johnson>choice, true education for all of our children. <v Bill Johnson>Now, you can talk. <v Ruth Scott>One of the dilemmas I have about this choice issue is that <v Ruth Scott>we have to be honest. <v Ruth Scott>A number of years ago, we threw the choice issue. <v Ruth Scott>We told parents that they can have for a second or third choice. <v Ruth Scott>But the reality is that most parents do not get their first choice. <v Ruth Scott>They may end up with second or third because we have to ensure <v Ruth Scott>that because of the the diversity in the schools and <v Ruth Scott>the issue around racial diversity, that the racial makeup in the district complies
<v Ruth Scott>with the state and the desegregation, the voluntarily desegregation <v Ruth Scott>plan. So most of our children do not get their first choice. <v Ruth Scott>If we throw in other choice out there, I think we're misleading the parents. <v Ruth Scott>And I also believe it's important that we have to be assured in this community that all <v Ruth Scott>children, all the schools in this district are going to have the same quality <v Ruth Scott>services and resources that some schools have-. <v Gary Walker>Ten seconds. <v Ruth Scott>-At this time. And that's the issue that I would be I would need to be guaranteed on. <v Gary Walker>And that is segment one of our debate. <v Gary Walker>We now head into segment two and this segment candidates question each other on topics <v Gary Walker>I give them once they're given a topic area. <v Gary Walker>And it does not have to be about education. <v Gary Walker>The candidate may direct their question to any other candidate. <v Gary Walker>There will be a two minute response and the question to the question will be followed by <v Gary Walker>a one minute rebuttal by the person who asked the question. <v Gary Walker>We begin with Karen Hansen. Your topic tonight is race relations.
<v Karen Noble Hanson>Kevin, I'd like to ask you a question in regard to race relations, I think all of <v Karen Noble Hanson>us have heard throughout this community that there is a strong feeling <v Karen Noble Hanson>that people and in fact, truth that people are not part <v Karen Noble Hanson>of the power structure. <v Karen Noble Hanson>I'd like you to describe for us, if you would, how you will go about <v Karen Noble Hanson>identifying people who would be part of your administration and in fact, <v Karen Noble Hanson>tell us whether or not you have already chosen people who would be part <v Karen Noble Hanson>of your administration at this time? <v Gary Walker>As it relates to race relations? <v Karen Noble Hanson>That's right. As it relates to race relations. <v Kevin Murray>I put forward, I think it's just last night the criteria that I would use <v Kevin Murray>in terms of determining who would be hired or maintained in the first <v Kevin Murray>would be those that person support those items in the platform <v Kevin Murray>pertaining to the job that they would be looking at the platform that I have put forward. <v Kevin Murray>Do they support it? The second would be do they if their current employees.
<v Kevin Murray>Do they now have the confidence of their own department? <v Kevin Murray>The people who would work for them? And third, again, if they're employees right now, <v Kevin Murray>do they have the support of the community as a whole? <v Kevin Murray>That's the criteria for top appointments. <v Kevin Murray>What the goal is, is to make sure your overall hiring structure, not in any <v Kevin Murray>individual job, but your overall hiring structure. <v Kevin Murray>That mirrors the population of the city of Rochester. <v Kevin Murray>So the people, when they come into city hall, will feel comfortable and that the people <v Kevin Murray>they see will be the same basic people that they <v Kevin Murray>see in this community as a whole. <v Kevin Murray>We need to make sure that there is representation of all groups in the community. <v Kevin Murray>Male and female, African-American, Hispanic, white, etc. <v Kevin Murray>across the board. We need to have that kind of a policy. <v Kevin Murray>That policy has to extend to the boards and commissions that exist because those <v Kevin Murray>boards and commissions help make very important decisions with respect to the future
<v Kevin Murray>of this community. So we have to be very sensitive that we get highly qualified <v Kevin Murray>people. But the overall balance is such that we represent the diversity <v Kevin Murray>that is the city of Rochester. <v Kevin Murray>And when you achieve that, then people will feel they belong in this city, <v Kevin Murray>that their views are represented in the city. <v Kevin Murray>And hopefully that will go a long way to diffusing some of the problems that we have <v Kevin Murray>with race relations in this community. <v Gary Walker>Karen, you have a minute to rebut. <v Karen Noble Hanson>Thank you. Well, my my concern really goes to a couple of points. <v Karen Noble Hanson>First of all, you didn't answer the question as to whether or not you've made any <v Karen Noble Hanson>commitments as of now to people that you would be bringing into the administration. <v Karen Noble Hanson>And you may have made such commitments that <v Karen Noble Hanson>that are ones of people who are underrepresented now or not. <v Karen Noble Hanson>But I wonder why you didn't answer that, that particular question. <v Karen Noble Hanson>But the second thing is, is that as I've been out around the community during this <v Karen Noble Hanson>campaign, it's it's become evident to me that that you don't seem <v Karen Noble Hanson>to have been spending as much time in other segments of the community that really feel
<v Karen Noble Hanson>underrepresented at this time. And I think anybody who is going to govern this city <v Karen Noble Hanson>must have been throughout this community. <v Karen Noble Hanson>Whether it's good in terms of receiving votes or not, must have been throughout <v Karen Noble Hanson>this community in order to truly govern this city in a fair and equitable way. <v Gary Walker>And that is time. Mr. Murray, your topic for a question is <v Gary Walker>safety of teachers and students in our schools. <v Kevin Murray>Ok, I'll ask Bill Johnson. Bill, certainly, if our schools are <v Kevin Murray>going to be effective, we have to makes certain that the students and the teachers <v Kevin Murray>are safe. What types of things would you like to see the city <v Kevin Murray>do together in collaboration with the school district to make our system <v Kevin Murray>safer? <v Bill Johnson>I think it is absolutely imperative that the district's weapons policy <v Bill Johnson>be stringently enforced. <v Bill Johnson>There is no conceivable reason why any child, <v Bill Johnson>any adolescent should be carrying a weapon on the streets
<v Bill Johnson>or in the schools. There is no conceivable reason, and we must make <v Bill Johnson>certain. I heard just on television tonight. <v Bill Johnson>I remember a school board candidate kind of equivocating on this issue. <v Bill Johnson>There is no reason. And I think that is the first thing. <v Bill Johnson>The second thing is that as hard as we have tried and as miserably <v Bill Johnson>as we have failed, we have got to get more effective parental <v Bill Johnson>involvement in the schools. And that is not just mean getting parents <v Bill Johnson>to come to PTA meetings and to Christmas programs, but to <v Bill Johnson>hold parents strictly accountable for the behavior of their children <v Bill Johnson>as early as grade one. <v Bill Johnson>We cannot sit back and allow children's behavior. <v Bill Johnson>We see it. We see children engage in all kinds of behavior and <v Bill Johnson>ignore it until they get into middle school or into high school and then try to address <v Bill Johnson>it. I have outlined a specific proposal to deal with <v Bill Johnson>this by using the existing human service agencies that
<v Bill Johnson>are established, that have trained staff to work with students and families <v Bill Johnson>to have those staffs, one, work out of schools during school <v Bill Johnson>days and two to use those staffs to to <v Bill Johnson>continue after school programs. <v Bill Johnson>We need to keep those school buildings open until 11:00 to twelve o'clock in the night <v Bill Johnson>and on the weekends. And we can do it not by adding more costs, but by using existing <v Bill Johnson>resources. And I think when we begin to do that, having parents take more responsibility <v Bill Johnson>for their own children's behavior, we won't have to worry about metal detectors or <v Bill Johnson>anything like that. We will have solved the problem long before it gets out of hand. <v Gary Walker>Well done. It's time. Exactly. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Murray, you have one minute to respond. <v Kevin Murray>Bill, I tend to agree with most of what you say. <v Kevin Murray>It's a crime on the street. It's a crime in the school. <v Kevin Murray>It's fairly simple. <v Kevin Murray>I followed on one program. There's a smart program in North for Norfolk, Virginia. <v Kevin Murray>Norfolk had problems similar to what we're experiencing, where they had violence and <v Kevin Murray>weapons problems in their schools.
<v Kevin Murray>They did some studies of it. They came up with the fact that the people who were <v Kevin Murray>performing poor in school were often the people who had bed <v Kevin Murray>conduct. It was a small number of people were chronic violators, and what they <v Kevin Murray>did to do is put a group of one teacher, one student <v Kevin Murray>and one volunteer from the public together to work intensively <v Kevin Murray>with those students. And they were able to turn it around considerably. <v Kevin Murray>At least the information I have is this is worked by getting those people who <v Kevin Murray>have been chronically in trouble in school together with three individuals <v Kevin Murray>and working fairly intensively. <v Kevin Murray>They have reduced substantially the violence and the weapons programs in their schools. <v Kevin Murray>These are things we need to look at. <v Gary Walker>And that's our next questioner will be John Erbe. <v Gary Walker>John, your topic is gun control. <v John Erbe>Gun control. <v John Erbe>I'd like to ask this question of Kevin. <v John Erbe>The events leading to gun control are that many people do not feel safe
<v John Erbe>in the neighborhoods of Rochester, and it's caused a proliferation of guns by <v John Erbe>citizens to protect themselves. <v John Erbe>And then because there are so many illegal weapons in neighborhoods, in the hands <v John Erbe>of people who should or who are criminals and creating fear and violence <v John Erbe>in neighborhoods, what would you do about that if you were elected mayor? <v Kevin Murray>I think the legislation that passed was an attempt to do something. <v Kevin Murray>And sometimes when people want to do something, they don't necessarily do the best thing. <v Kevin Murray>The problem we have in this community is not with legal weapons. <v Kevin Murray>Those weapons that the current policy put forward dealt with the problem is with <v Kevin Murray>illegal weapons. We have in New York state a mandatory one year sentence <v Kevin Murray>if you're caught the commission of a crime with an illegal weapon. <v Kevin Murray>However, it's practically never enforced. <v Kevin Murray>It's usually either waived by the judge or plea bargained away. <v Kevin Murray>I've talked with members of the state assembly and I've talked with the district attorney <v Kevin Murray>about getting a law that would require, if anyone is caught in
<v Kevin Murray>the commission of a crime with an illegal weapon. <v Kevin Murray>They would get a mandatory one year sentence. <v Kevin Murray>No plea bargain, no waiver of that sentence. <v Kevin Murray>That's something we want to send a message out to people that if you use an illegal <v Kevin Murray>weapon, you're going to jail and you can have a one year sentence minimum. <v Kevin Murray>And on top of that is whatever sentence you get for whatever crime, in fact, occurred. <v Kevin Murray>The legal weapons are not the problem. <v Kevin Murray>It's the illegal weapons. We should put our emphasis on harm reduction <v Kevin Murray>since the harm is being caused by illegal weapons. <v Kevin Murray>That's where the efforts of the city of Rochester should go. <v Gary Walker>Mr. Erbe, you have one minute. <v John Erbe>Well, quite frankly, effective gun control can only happen on a state or federal <v John Erbe>level. The events leading up to the citizen frustration <v John Erbe>and them wanting their city government to do something serious about guns <v John Erbe>and violence in our community. He didn't answer that question. <v John Erbe>We had a shoot out and Lake Avenue a couple of weeks ago. <v John Erbe>Sixty rounds of ammunition were shot.
<v John Erbe>People are getting tired of the violence that comes from drug related <v John Erbe>crime in this community. We have to shift resources into our neighborhoods. <v John Erbe>I've made a proposal to put 90 additional police officers in the neighborhoods and <v John Erbe>commercial districts of Rochester that would address this concern. <v John Erbe>It's a specific, detailed proposal that answers the question <v John Erbe>and gives citizens of our community, some confidence- the confidence that there's <v John Erbe>leadership on this issue. It's good to talk about neighborhood policing and community <v John Erbe>policing, but if you don't have any facts to back up your proposals and if you don't <v John Erbe>have concrete proposals, then you're to see more frustration in laws that <v John Erbe>really don't have any impact. <v Gary Walker>And that's time, Mr. Erb. Our next questioner is Ruth Scott. <v Gary Walker>And your topic, Ruth, will be manufacturing jobs. <v Ruth Scott>I would like to ask Kevin Murray, what did he <v Ruth Scott>do while he was on the county legislature to increase <v Ruth Scott>the number of manufacturing jobs in this community?
<v Ruth Scott>And how did it work? How many were there? <v Kevin Murray>I did a number of things. <v Kevin Murray>One of them was I sponsored legislation that in fact passed and is now in <v Kevin Murray>place to have a small business incubator. <v Kevin Murray>Small business incubators are set up so that small fledgling firms <v Kevin Murray>can come in provided with space and technical assistance and some shared services. <v Kevin Murray>So in those initial phases, when they most need help, they're given help. <v Kevin Murray>It's a very effective program that's being used by high technology of Rochester. <v Kevin Murray>In addition, I've served with the Industrial Development Agency. <v Kevin Murray>The Industrial Development Agency puts together packages of tax abatement <v Kevin Murray>and low interest loans to firms to bring them into our community. <v Kevin Murray>Some of the successes are things like precision technology, which started out with 35 <v Kevin Murray>jobs, now has over 200 jobs right here in the city of Rochester. <v Kevin Murray>Good paying jobs as well. <v Kevin Murray>These are successes. We have others. <v Kevin Murray>We have optical technology.
<v Kevin Murray>We have WINZER. We have many firms that came in because of the work of the industrial <v Kevin Murray>development agency. These are success stories. <v Kevin Murray>What we need is to have more of them. <v Kevin Murray>We bring in the small firms and we hope they grow. <v Kevin Murray>Many of them have grown and they've had good high paying jobs for the citizens of this <v Kevin Murray>community. I'm proud of the role that I played in that. <v Kevin Murray>And that's the type of thing that I'll do as mayor of the Ro- of the city of Rochester is <v Kevin Murray>bring good jobs and good companies with growth potential into our community. <v Kevin Murray>In addition, I put forward a bill to give local preference. <v Kevin Murray>Right now, the county of Monroe and professional contracts, not bid contracts, then <v Kevin Murray>professional contracts. We have a strong preference for local <v Kevin Murray>that's engineers and architects and other professionals that keeps the money local, <v Kevin Murray>that circulates your tax dollars right here at home. <v Kevin Murray>Those are programs I think are very effective at helping our economy in Rochester grow. <v Gary Walker>And that's time Ruth Scott you have 1 minute. <v Ruth Scott>I don't know whether I misunderstood you or not, but.
<v Ruth Scott>But you said that what you did was to sponsor the legislation related to <v Ruth Scott>incubator businesses. <v Kevin Murray>Small businesses. <v Ruth Scott>And that. <v Ruth Scott>But that was not the industrial development agency. <v Ruth Scott>The long list that you've given us are actually companies that were put together <v Ruth Scott>by other kinds of organization and not by that piece of legislation. <v Ruth Scott>So you can't claim credit for having created those jobs and that that agency. <v Ruth Scott>So actually, you didn't answer the question as to how many jobs really came <v Ruth Scott>about as an effect of the things that you did on the county legislature. <v Ruth Scott>In addition, I think the rules of the county legislature, it says <v Ruth Scott>that the legislature should indeed plan have a work <v Ruth Scott>plan for each year. I think that years during which you were president so far, I ask <v Ruth Scott>you last night to tell us show us where in <v Ruth Scott>those plans you placed job development. <v Ruth Scott>And I still haven't seen anything. <v Gary Walker>And that is time. <v Kevin Murray>The high priorities in.
<v Gary Walker>that is time. <v Ruth Scott>[Inaudible]. <v Gary Walker>Next question. <v Gary Walker>Well, the audience will have to ask questions on that so we can finish this. <v Gary Walker>Thank you. Our next question is Nancy Padilla. <v Gary Walker>Nancy, your topic is graffiti. <v Ruth Scott>Must be the heat of the lights. <v Ruth Scott>Graffiti. <v Ruth Scott>There are never init- initiatives at the city of Rochester has put in place <v Ruth Scott>as mayor. When I'm elected, I'm going to continue to work and <v Ruth Scott>support these initiatives. But I think what's more important is the employment of <v Ruth Scott>youth. The identification of youth services. <v Ruth Scott>Kevin would- what are your plans for addressing the issue of <v Ruth Scott>graffiti? <v Kevin Murray>There's a number of things. First. I think a mayor leads by example. <v Kevin Murray>In the last two years, I've worked to paint over graffiti in a number of our <v Kevin Murray>neighborhoods on Genesee Street, the last two years in the summer on Central
<v Kevin Murray>Park, this year, Lisle Avenue this year being out there with others, helping <v Kevin Murray>to paint over graffiti. It leads by example. <v Kevin Murray>And that's positive. We would continue program exists <v Kevin Murray>that provides paint and other material and some administrative help to provide <v Kevin Murray>people with the phone calls and the papers and make sure they know when these events help <v Kevin Murray>are going to occur because that's important. <v Kevin Murray>But we need to do is teach our youth that when they spray paint or they see a friend <v Kevin Murray>spray spray painting or anything like that, it's not funny. <v Kevin Murray>It's not comical. It's not something that's cute. <v Kevin Murray>But rather that's vandalism and it's wrong and it deteriorates the neighborhood. <v Kevin Murray>And when they help clean it up, that teaches them a very important lesson. <v Kevin Murray>And I think that lesson is one that won't be lost when they go back and they talk to <v Kevin Murray>their friends the next time anyone talks about vandalism of that type. <v Kevin Murray>They're going to say, wait a minute, that's wrong. That hurts our neighborhood. <v Kevin Murray>I was out and I spent some time painting over it. <v Kevin Murray>I don't want to see you do it. I don't want to do it.
<v Kevin Murray>That's wrong. We lead by example. <v Kevin Murray>I think the mayor should be out there, as I have been painting over graffiti, <v Kevin Murray>standing next to other people, students, teachers, and leading by example. <v Gary Walker>Nancy, you have one minute. <v Nancy Padilla>Would you not agree that the graffiti is another message to us <v Nancy Padilla>adults calling for more attention, more support, <v Nancy Padilla>more caring for more caring environment for the leaders of this <v Nancy Padilla>community, to set an example to set the tone <v Nancy Padilla>for this community? <v Kevin Murray>Yes. <v Gary Walker>OK, that's time. Our next questioner is Bill Johnson. <v Gary Walker>Bill, your topic is city unions. <v Bill Johnson>Let me see who I'd like this to go to. <v Bill Johnson>I guess I want to ask this to- to John Erb. <v Bill Johnson>John, I noticed in the paper the other day that the
<v Bill Johnson>president of the Ask Me Union, the City Municipal Union, Tony <v Bill Johnson>Angello, not only was an enthusiastic endorser of yours, <v Bill Johnson>but he also is a volunteer in your campaign, given that you- I <v Bill Johnson>also heard that you have been endorsed by the Locust Club. <v Bill Johnson>And its president, Mr. Evangelista. <v Bill Johnson>Given that part of your back to basics talks about controlling cost, <v Bill Johnson>do you think that these endorsements represent any kind of conflict of interest, <v Bill Johnson>that they will impair your ability to reduce the cost of <v Bill Johnson>government that you and I have been speaking about more fortunately than than some <v Bill Johnson>others? Do you think that these endorsements would in any way impair your ability <v Bill Johnson>to control the cost of government and bring about some of the changes in work rules <v Bill Johnson>and a workforce reductions that you've been talking about? <v John Erbe>Bill, let me answer that by referring to some experience that I have as a small business
The Mayoral Debates
Producing Organization
WXXI (Television station : Rochester, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-526-gb1xd0rz8k).
Program Description
"When Bill Johnson, the president of the fifth largest Urban League chapter, entered the primary election for mayor by the Democratic Party in Rochester (an overwhelmingly Democratic district), he was on in a field of as many as seven mayoral hopefuls. According to the polls and commonly held assumptions, the race was between Kevin Murray, the party-designed candidate, and his closest challenger, Ruth Scott. Johnson's candidacy held the least support. "WXXI-TV & WXXI-AM produced a series of four 'live' debates, each lasting two hours on consecutive nights during prime time. The debates allowed voters to scrutinize each candidate for the very first time, and while Scott went on the offensive against the front runner, Murray comfortably defended himself, fully expecting victory in the primary election. But Bill Johnson remained above the fray, steadily steering back to the issues of the campaign. "This series of debates demonstrates an excellent example of media responsibility. It provided a level playing field for all of the candidates and eliminated the need for frenzied fundraising. Its role in changing the expected outcome of the election is fundamental."-- 1993 Peabody Awards entry form. The democratic candidates featured in this debate are Karen Noble Hansen, Bill Johnson, Kevin Murray, Nancy Padilla, John Erb, and Ruth Scott. Leading the debate is WXXI Reports news reporter, Gary Walker. The first segment of questioning in this debate revolves around schools and education. The next segment allowed for the candidates to ask each other questions on topics such as race relations, safety in schools, gun control, manufacturing jobs, graffiti, and city unions.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WXXI (Television station : Rochester, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-c8f0d26c0ad (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 8:00:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Mayoral Debates,” 1993-08-30, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “The Mayoral Debates.” 1993-08-30. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: The Mayoral Debates. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from