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Pinnacle parents protest Harvey Austin merger

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

A small group of parents and supporters turned out last night, trying to mobilize against the school board closing School 115, what was once Pinnacle Charter School.

A year ago, the State Education Department closed Pinnacle only weeks before classes were to start and the school board jumped in to keep the school going as a regular public school, promising one year of operation.

The current plan for September is to merge School 115 with Harvey Austin, one of the city's worst-performing schools.

That's not going over well. Some parents are fighting the plan; others are jumping ship and transferring to other schools, almost all also listed as failing.

Prospective 115 kindergarten grandparent Kimberly Morris wants the former Pinnacle left alone.

"I hope that they change their minds. But, unfortunately, the way I look at the board today. It's not how it was when I was coming up. And, when I was coming up, the board was more in tune with the parents and they were more about the children. I don't see that now," Morris said.

Morris was one of that very small group of parents attending a meeting to press plans to keep 115 operating.

District Parent Coordinating Council President Sam Radford says the goal is an organized support movement before a planned school board special meeting August 6 to persuade the board to change the plan, as it has changed plans for a number of other schools like Bennett and Martin Luther King.

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.