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Renewal plan to reopen failing city schools

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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Despite planning problems caused by the recent Lake Effect snow storm, the Buffalo Board of Education d voted Wednesday evening to stick to a renewal plan which would re-open some schools with new programs in September.  WBFO'S Mike Desmond was there for the vote.

The Buffalo Public School system faces a very tight schedule for plans, preparation and approval for new start schools.  Albany has ordered four-schools closed and eventually re-opened with new programs, administrators and teachers.  East, Lafayette,  Martin Luther King and Bennett High School are all failing city schools. 

Interim city Schools Superintendent Donald Ogilvie said the snow-slowed process could be pushed back but it would probably mean the new programs wouldn't start until September 2016.

East High School activist and supporter Dwayne Kelly told the board his group will announce its plan on Tuesday to open in September.

"We do not believe and I'm glad that the board concurred with us this evening that we should cost our children a year's progress so that our adults can play catchup," stated Kelly.

Kelly noted there has been too much 'kicking the can down the road' on education issues.

Ogilvie said more help is being given to groups which want to put new programs in the buildings, especially help in preparing budgets for the proposals.

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Credit WBFO File Photo /
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Bennett High School.

Supporters of East and Lafayette said they can still meet the deadlines. There is also a plan for Bennett  with the school board giving additional assistance to all proposals, especially to prepare operating budgets.

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.