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Council reviews Buffalo Public School spending

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

With Buffalo Public Schools on a path to spend $940 million in the next year, Buffalo Common Council members on Thursday questioned administrators over how that money will be spent.The city and the school board share a July 1 start to a new fiscal year and both are going through their budget process.

Mayor Byron Brown's spending plan includes support for additional attendance teachers and money to continue instrumental music in some schools.  Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith told the budget hearing the money had to be spent that way so the city wasn't locked into that money in the future.

Asked by Smith about the district's new school-based budget process, Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown told the meeting an advisory group says it's starting up well.

"The board recently received a report from that advisory group, including principals in particular but others as well who said they were pleased that they are given the opportunity to work with the school-based management team to analyze the children's needs and use the resources to support the work that needs to be done in the schools, to improve student performance," Brown said.

There are other flows of money into schools from the Central Office, like that for special education and if there are categorical state grants like School Improvement Grants, but Brown says the new system lets principals target what an individual school needs in teachers as well as other areas.

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.