BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - For the second time this week, families spoke out about the state's plan to bring BOCES to East and Lafayette High Schools.
Wednesday night, parents gathered at Lafayette. In one week, the district will present its plan to the school board for turning around the failing school. Mayoral candidates Bernie Tolbert and Sergio Rodriguez came to the meeting, and so did Mayor Byron Brown, but the one who captured the most attention was the school's former class president.
Corey Becker said, "You tell me what other school would take on 45 different languages and still persevere?"
More than 70 percent of Lafayette students have English as a second language.
"And how dare anybody shame them for that," Becker said.
The former class president says his classmates may not all perform well on standardized testing, but many of his classmates come with their own unique education in life.
"Stories of genocide, poverty, stories of famine, stories of war," Becker said.
The State Education Commissioner has given Buffalo schools a few weeks to come up with a plan that may see BOCES take over management of Lafayette and East High Schools. But Johns Hopkins University had been in these schools for the past six months and was about to try its own method of improving graduation rates.
Board members seem split on what BOCES role should be.
Board member John Licata said, "I'm leaning to have as little intervention as possible from BOCES. I don't think BOCES has the proven track record for improving the academic achievement of students, much less students from 43 different countries."
Board member Carl Paladino said, "It's time to face reality and the reality is we bring BOCES into the school, we bring Johns Hopkins in to provide a real education."
This decision also has fiscal ramifications. The schools would have to pay BOCES or lose federal funding for not doing enough.
The superintendent expects to present her plan to the board in a week, and have the draft plan ready to send to the state a week after that.
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