Graduation rate climbs to 64% in Buffalo Schools

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Buffalo Public School officials say their ‘Education Bargain with Students and Parents is paying dividends. Graduation rates are up. Student growth and achivement scores are rising, and fewer schools aree considered to be struggling.

“No longer a failing district, it’s a thriving district,” said Superintendent Kriner Cash to principals from around the district who gathered Thursday afternoon at Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts. Cash says the numbers have turned around just in the past four years, from a HIgh School graduation rate of 49% in Buffalo Schools to now more than 64%. “But half of those high schools are higher than 80%. They beat the average. You don’t often hear talk about that.”

A few years ago, only  27% of Buffalo Schools were considered to be in good standing with NY State standards, now 74% of them are, and while just a few years ago half of all Buffalo schools were in receivership  because of poor performance, now only two are in superintendent receivership control to improve.
Some believe a big part of the success is the SayYES program offering free college tuition to all Buffalo graduates. Ny State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal peoples-Stokes feels Kriner Cash was the right superintendent at the right time. “Everybody has great ideas, Everybody knows how to get things done, and here in Buffalo we’re really good at that, but it wasn’t happening.”

Dr. Catherine Collins will never forget when she first saw how bad the numbers were at her first meeting as a school board member in 2005. “Believe me, I wanted to cry. Today, I want to cry again but because we have done it…finally…decades. We’ve made it, but we have to make sure we sustain what we’ve done.”

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