BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Passions ran high as the school board held an emergency meeting to address the city's two failing high schools. Now, a plan is in place to help turn the schools around. The Board of Education has to submit a proposal to the state, which is something they've had trouble with in the past.
East and Lafayette High Schools are the two worst performing high schools in Buffalo. The city school district is banking on vocational classes to turn things around. The city school board voted to combine resources from BOCES, with Johns Hopkins University, already in place. But now the state has to say yes to that proposal, if it's submitted correctly.
Bob Bennett serves on the State Board of Regents. He says state approval will come only after a detailed application is submitted. "They haven't had much success in the past with EPOs and that's what they're proposing, an educational partnership organization."
Bennett said, "How they propose to change the academic program at Lafayette, how they propose to address the issue of language learners. And the district has to say ‘We pick Johns Hopkins to do this, here's the contract with them, here's what the outcomes will be, please review it and approve it.'"
Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown said this about the district's contract conundrum, "We understand that there is a lot that we have to learn about submitting contracts."
Ken Slentz, the State Education Department's deputy commissioner has spent hours in Buffalo to help the school board get this done correctly.
Slentz said, "So there can't be any wiggle room for the district. They cannot have any excuses now not to get this right. They're out of excuses."
The Board of Education has to submit this proposal to the state by August 12th.
The worst case scenario is the state denies this application. The schools could ultimately be shut down, and students would be moved elsewhere. Bennett said that wouldn't happen until next school year, it would cause too much disruption this year.
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