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Push continues for more afterschool programs

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WBFO News photo
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Around half of Buffalo's public schools are open after the regular school day and there's a push to open them all.

For city schools, the image is that the instant the last student walks out the door, those doors are locked and the building sits mostly empty until the next day. Actually, there are maintenance and cleaning crews who start up after the kids leave and they get the classrooms and halls ready for the next day.

For high schools like McKinley Higher School and International Prep, those doors stay open until 5:30 now and around 28-elementary schools also stay open for those extra hours for extra class work. It isn't cheap since engineers and cleanup crews go on overtime.

Executive Director of Facilities Joe Giusiana says extending days for more classes would run up the costs even more.

"To go to an extended day, we would have to heat the buildings in the winter time with a higher temperature, there'd be additional lighting, pool use if that's a consideration. There'd be a lifeguard issue, a second set of eyes. There'd be a number of different things," Giusiana said.

Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Demone Smith, representative of the Masten District, said it's a question of new contracts with employees to ease the extra costs, as well as cutting busing costs. He says adding hours would help students and potentially pave the way for return to neighborhood schools designed for the communities in which they sit. He cites School 61 on Leroy which is soon to be flanked by a giant new community on the old Central Park Plaza property and could work with the new residents to meet their specific needs.
 

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.