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Parent group made final plea for school turnaround grants

By Michael Mroziak


Buffalo, NY – The District Parents Coordination Council in Buffalo was unsuccessful in its attempt to get the Board of Education to submit school turnaround grant request for four poor performing schools.

The group appeared at Wednesday night's school board meeting at City Hall. The board decided it will not submit grant applications for those four low-achieving schools. The parents group says the District will lose out in millions of dollars.

Earlier in the day Wednesday, the parents council brought its plea to a Buffalo Common Council Education committee meeting.

Up to nine Buffalo schools may be eligible for nearly $2-million each in improvement grants, leaders from the Buffalo public school district and its teachers' union are accused of an unwillingness to allow large-scale changes that could improve several under-performing schools.

Sam Radford, representing the District Parents Coordination Council, says Buffalo schools are leaving millions of dollars in school aid on the table by not showing a willingness to undergo changes that could kick-start efforts to improve under-performing schools. He says while radical changes, such as a proposed but later abandoned plan to reshuffle principals and teachers, might not work.

A federal study shows the small adjustments the district and Buffalo Teachers' Federation are willing to implement are simply not working.

School board member John Licata took exception to the suggestion the district was putting schools and students on hold. He also responded to Radford's comments by suggesting the district cannot simply implement radical changes that affect teachers and administrators, not with a collective bargaining agreement in place.

Licata also suggested that even without the possibility of school improvement grants, the district is already pursuing measures at under-performing schools, such as addressing attendance problems and analyzing data to determine what already existing intervention programs are working.