BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo school board members laid out a plan of attack on Wednesday to fix two failing high schools.
The plan is required in just around two weeks, or both East and Lafayette High Schools will be closed by the State Department of Education. Education Commissioner John King has given the Buffalo School District an ultimatum: Pick one of the state's two plans for East and Lafayette High Schools. The plan is required in just around two weeks, or both high schools will be closed by the State Department of Education.
On Wednesday, the board announced their decision. Buffalo schools will let students at East and Lafayette High Schools take vocational classes through BOCES. The alternative was to make BOCES the new superintendent of those two buildings.
But Buffalo and BOCES administrators said that would be too difficult, with the start of the school year just a few weeks away. BOCES Superintendent Donald Ogilvie spoke up in support of Johns Hopkins University, which is already working to improve both schools.
"There was a commitment by faculties to make something work. We did not want to interpose ourselves into that," Ogilvie said.
Parents, teachers and community leaders think highly of the work Johns Hopkins is doing. Before Wednesday night's school board meeting, they voiced disgust and anger over what they see as State Ed. interfering.
The partnerships with Johns Hopkins and BOCES are projected to cost Buffalo between $2.2 million and $5.2 million, for the 2013-14 school year.
Park District representative Carl Paladino was the only board member to vote against this plan.
"Have we considered, at all, just closing the schools? Insofar as, we have more structure, more buildings.. we have a lot of space in our other schools," Paladino said.
Buffalo now has until August 12 to finalize this plan, send it to Albany, and get State Ed's approval. For this school year, the district has to pay the full cost of this plan. Starting in 2014, the district can apply for grant money.
But for this year, one possibility that was mentioned was using money that's been set aside for capital improvements or contract settlements to afford this plan.
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