BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The turnaround plans for East and Lafayette High Schools in the Buffalo Public School District were approved by the State Education Department.
However, the good news came on top of word the transfer plan for some 2,200 students seeking to leave low-performing schools in the district had yet again been rejected.
Dr. Will Keresztes, Associate Superintendent, tells News 4 that the State Education Commissioner John King has approved a plan to turnaround East and Lafayette High Schools, which will involve the district giving control of the high schools to John Hopkins University, and allowing students to take classes at BOCES.
But Commissioner King has rejected the district's plan to transfer students from low-performing schools. Specifically, the State Education Department has said the district must compress its timeline for transferring all 2,200 students from three years to two years.
School Board member Jim Sampson said, "What they're saying is, one more time, not enough detail, not enough urgency, and not enough attention to how we're going to make this stuff happen."
Sampson was one of the board members who voted against the latest transfer plan submitted to the state.
"The State Education Department is giving incredibly specific direction on what we have to do to make this thing work," he said.
The state wants more schools in good standing created by next September, rather than two years from now as the district's plan calls for. Dr. Keresztes says two new schools will be opened and two existing schools will be closed and re-opened to help turn things around.
"Moving children around the city is not the turnaround plan for the district," he argued. "We've got to take all the steps available to support our schools and improve them so that parent don't ask for transfers in the first place."
And that includes partnering with other school districts and charter schools.
"We've got to harness the talent and creativity of our teachers," Dr. Keresztes stated. "We need to make better use of parents as assets in building our school communities."
The latest rejection also insists that the Buffalo School District include parents in discussions before sending yet another version of the transfer plan to the State Education Department for approval. Sam Radford says up until now, the District Parent Coordinating Council has not been part of the process.
"My expectation is that parents will be included immediately," he said. "They think we're going to go away as parents. We're not going away. We're going to fight for our children until every one of our children gets a great education."
The School Board has until September 30 to submit another version of the transfer plan.
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