BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council has unanimously voted to ask State Education Commissioner John King to reject the Buffalo School District's revised plan to transfer students at low performing schools into schools in good standing.
Twenty-five representatives from many different high and elementary schools took part in the vote. The council says the district's most recent plan didn't include them in their decision making process, and doesn't address the root cause of the problems as they see them.
Sam Radford, a member of the council, stated, "We need to really hear from charter schools, suburban schools, private schools, capacity within schools for schools within schools. We need to hear that data, which the district for all practical purpose should have had before they sent off a plan in the first place."
The District Parent Coordinating Council is one of three official stakeholders in the district, along with unions representing the teachers and principals of Buffalo Schools.
Associate Superintendent Dr. Will Keresztes said, "At this point the Superintendent is establishing a meeting with the area superintendents, so the invites are going out and, you know, we're looking forward to that dialogue. That meeting will take place before the start of the school year."
There may not be a state decision on Buffalo's latest transfer plan until Thursday or Friday. King has no comment on the request by the parent's group to reject it. The State Education Department said the plan is being carefully studied, realizing there is a lot at stake for Buffalo.
The district has 42 schools considered low performing. Sources tell News 4 that King still does not believe the district is working quickly enough to find seats to handle students who want to transfer out of these schools.
"It's my expectation that we're going to do at least a hundred seats over the next couple of days, but we're going to try and do a lot more between now and next week," Dr. Keresztes said.
But many districts say they are already wrestling with their own problems, including a student's choice of schools within their own districts.
Ken-Ton School District Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said, "Some community members have brought up choice for our ourselves, within our own district, and as complicated and complex as that conversation could be, we can only imagine what it would be like to consider other districts."
If the state rejects Buffalo's plan, the transfers will still take place because the federal No Child Left behind law requires the district to follow through on these requests. State Regent Bob Bennett believes the state may allow the district to accomplish all 2,200 transfer requests in phases while carefully monitoring the district for compliance.
The bulk of the transfer requests come from students still in elementary school. These are the elementary schools in Buffalo in good standing that are likely to take in transfer students from low-performing schools.
These schools have no admission criteria:
- HILLERY PARK ELEMENTARY #27 - 73 Pawnee Parkway
- DISCOVERY SCHOOL #67 - 911 Abbott Road
- LORRAINE ELEMENTARY #72 - 71 Lorraine Avenue
- SCHOOL 81 - 140 Tacoma Avenue
This school has admission criteria for 65 percent of its students:
- FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED #156 - 319 Suffolk Street
And these are Buffalo high schools in good standing that could possibly take in transfer students, though the schools require tests and transfer applicants must have taken the tests prior to submission for these schools:
- OLMSTED HIGH SCHOOL #156
- CITY HONORS #195
- HUTCH TECH #304
These schools are criteria-based and do not require tests to get in:
- DaVINCI #212
- EMERSON #302
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