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Cuomo says failing schools face 'death penalty'

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Governor Andrew Cuomo has thrown a new term into the debate over bad schools: death penalty, a fate he says bad schools face if they don't improve.The governor says Buffalo's troubled schools are on his radar but wouldn't say if he supports a state takeover if problems continue. 

He did say Albany is likely to prepare legislation after lawmakers come back in January to establish the rules for state takeovers. He says whatever the law says, it will continue local control and offer different solutions for different areas.

At the same time, Cuomo says bad schools face closing.

"It's inarguable that failing schools are not an option. Because it's not a failing school, you're failing children. That's what you are doing. And you are paying some of the highest costs in the nation to fail children. And, that's just not acceptable, period," Cuomo said, speaking in Lockport Thursday afternoon.

Cuomo says recent systems of evaluating teachers and schools provide hard numbers on which schools are doing well and which aren't and the bad ones have to go.

He says if New Yorkers pay the kind of taxes they do to support schools, they deserve the best and aren't always getting them.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.