February 18, 2015
Urban-Suburban Program – Questions and Answers
What is the driving force
behind the Urban-Suburban program? The
mission behind the U-S program has remained
unchanged since its inception in 1965, to
voluntarily reduce racial isolation and the
segregation of academic opportunities in the
elementary and secondary schools of New York State
in order to enhance racial/ethnic awareness and
sensitivity between and among students, teachers and
parents in the elementary and secondary schools of
What are the
criteria for diversity? Minority pupils are
defined by the State Education Department as pupils who are
Black, Hispanic (non-white)/Latino, Native American, Alaskan
Native, Asian or Pacific Islander origin. Minority students
residing in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) may
apply for transfer to the participating suburban school
districts through the program.
minority groups equally represented in the program?
No. Minority students are accepted into the program
based on academics, student commitment and parent
commitment, not their particular minority group.
How would we balance the diversity and reduce racial
isolation if students are not placed at all three elementary
schools? Since Quest is a school of choice, the
placement of Urban Suburban students would be dependent upon
available space after resident student requests are
satisfied. Urban Suburban students would enter Hilton
Schools at grade one or two and continue in our district
through graduation, so they would become part of the general
student population at Merton Williams and Hilton High School
regardless of which Hilton elementary school they attended.
Are Hilton students
currently disadvantaged by not experiencing diversity in the
schools? According to the US Census, by 2050 our
nation will have no clear racial majority.
Research confirms that racial diversity in schools
does carry long-term social benefits including reduced
college and workplace segregation, higher levels of social
cohesion and reduced racial prejudice.
“Diverse schools also help graduates navigate and
find comfort in racially diverse settings later in life.”
From the Research Brief by
Coalition of School Diversity
Why is the Hilton
Central School District considering the program now?
Regional conversations on the subject of poverty and the
disparity in student success between the Monroe County
Schools and the Rochester City Schools has spurred
discussions on regional solutions.
The Urban-Suburban program is one small example.
Will the addition of
the Urban-Suburban students cause an increase in my property
taxes? State aid for each urban student travels
with the student to the suburban district
and represents additional funding for the district. Hilton will only place students in
available slots to be determined annually at grades 1-2.
Therefore property taxes will not be impacted.
How will the money
provided by RCSD be used in the district? The
money will be added to Hilton’s general fund and can be used
for regular operating costs.
If an urban student
exits from an upper grade, will they be replaced by another
urban student at that point? No, all urban
students will enter at grades 1 or 2 only. If an urban
student exits the district from an upper grade level, the
slot will remain unfilled.
How many students
are we anticipating entering at grades 1-2 annually?
We expect to add between 8-12 students total each year
at grades 1-2 across the district. The placement will depend
upon available seats in the elementary schools.