Rochester, NY—Citizen Action of New York and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) have raised concerns about recent statements made by Rochester City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot at a community panel last week on policing. When asked about reallocating funds from policing to education, Lightfoot said, “I ain’t givin’ a dime to the school district. I’m sorry, you’re not getting another dime from me. Would you give a crackhead more money? No!”

City funding for the Rochester City School District has remained flat for 15 years, even as costs have increased and more state funding has been funneled to charter schools. Citizen Action and AQE have issued the following response:

“We are deeply bothered by Willie Lightfoot’s recent comments regarding our Rochester public schools. For decades, our public schools have been systemically underfunded and denied the resources they need to serve our families. Teachers are paying for supplies out of pocket and counselors and social workers are in short supply. At the same time, the Rochester Police Department has been given a blank check to surveil, patrol and brutalize Black and Brown communities. Budgets are a statement of priorities, and Councilmember Lightfoot is making clear that police take precedence over our students, parents, and educators.”