While Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was in town the other day, he was asked by local leaders whether he was familiar with the Midtown revitalization project, specifically the construction of a performing arts center. When Cuomo professed ignorance of this particular project, it made headlines in our local major newspaper and was the lead story on various news telecasts. It was a bit surprising that Cuomo wasn’t familiar with the project, considering his lieutenant is the individual who has spearheaded Midtown Plaza’s proposed regeneration. Did someone happen to ask Cuomo his thoughts regarding mayoral control of city schools here in Rochester as well?
I haven’t located any transcripts of the presser Cuomo held earlier in the week here but it appears safe to say that nothing about mayoral control was asked or discussed. Nevertheless, how our new governor is going to approach education reform in this state – Rochester in particular – should be of much greater interest to us Rochesterians. For those individuals who believe that building a new performing arts center in our city center is an economic imperative for this region, I believe you are sadly mistaken.
Our city, which is seemingly decaying more by the day, must have a successful public school system that provides realistic opportunities for all city children. A new performing arts center will only satisfy the egos and fill the pockets of a precious few. On the other hand, a city school district that is efficiently and collaboratively managed by city school administrators and its school board with assistance – but not control – of the city government will positively impact a far greater number of people.
It’s time for our leaders to swallow their pride and act more selflessly, and start making the difficult – for some of them, I’m sure – but necessary choices.