RCSD monitor has second job with NYC charter school group
Shelley Jallow, the state-appointed academic and fiscal monitor for the Rochester City School District, has been serving as regional superintendent for a charter management organization in Connecticut and New York City since August.
Jallow called it a "part-time gig" lasting until June 2022 at the latest. In her introduction to the board of that organization, Capital Preparatory Schools, however, she called the job "a coming home experience in many regards," and said she was "phasing out of (her) role as the state monitor for one of the districts upstate."
Jallow is an independent contractor in Rochester, assigned by the state Education Department, and her contract does not prohibit her from doing other work. She said it would be unfair to claim she has not given RCSD her full attention.
"I’m really dedicated to Rochester and doing the work of state monitor," she said Wednesday. "It’s not a full-time job, even though it feels like a full-time job and I’ve dedicated full-time hours to it."
She said she has no intention of leaving the state monitor position until her contract runs out in June 2023.
The state monitor position is an independent contract, paying $154 an hour plus expenses, including a $1,200 per month housing stipend and airfare to and from Rochester.
Capital Preparatory Schools is a charter management company that runs three schools, one in Connecticut and two in New York City. Jallow said she was brought on to ensure that the academic program at the New York schools are aligned with state standards.
Despite the impressive-sounding title of regional superintendent, she said she is merely a contract worker, doing about 15 hours a week. She declined to disclose her pay there.
Capital Prep leadership did not respond immediately to a request for comment, but there is evidence they see Jallow's role differently than she does.
She is listed on the organization's leadership page, and the landing page for the schools' Fall 2021 return-to-school plans includes an introductory message from her.
A letter to families at Capital Prep Harlem from August says that the school principal will report directly to Jallow.
"I think they thought it was going to be more than it is," Jallow said by way of explanation.
RCSD leaders were unaware of her second job until Wednesday. As for the state Education Department, her formal employer, she said: "I think some of them are aware — but because I'm a contractor, I like to keep things separate."
NYSED spokesperson did not respond immediately to a request for comment. RCSD declined to comment.
RCSD Board President Van White said neither the board nor the district has any say in the state monitor position, including any outside work that person might take on. But he said Jallow's work for Capital Prep was "a legitimate concern" that could serve as a distraction in Rochester, if nothing else.
In her updated academic plan last week, Jallow recommended the district create a charter school coordinator position to handle the logistics of transportation, finances and other areas where district and charter concerns overlap. White and other board members pushed back on that idea, saying the district should be directing its efforts to out-competing charter schools, not coordinating with them.
White compared Jallow's situation to the case of Walter Larkin, a longtime RCSD administrator now serving as CEO of University Prep Charter School. White considered appointing him to a vacant position on the RCSD school board but relented under criticism of the perceived conflict of interest.
"I know Dr. Jallow has committed herself to assisting this district," White said. "But the assistance we need really requires our undivided attention."
Contact staff writer Justin Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.