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Hochul says education is governor's priority this year

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is making education a priority this year, but exactly how the state will attempt to intervene in the troubled Buffalo Public Schools district is unclear. WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley spoke with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and a city stakeholder about reforms for the city.

"The governor plans for major interventions for the City of Buffalo school district as well as the school districts that are failing all over the state," said Hochul during a recent appearance in downtown Buffalo. 

Hochul says that is the governor's "priority," but said she could not elaborate.

"The Governor will be announcing his initiatives. I'm not going to get ahead of him on that. He'll be talking more about what his plans our, but it is a major concern of his to make sure New York State remains competitive -- not just nationally, but in the global economy," stated Hochul.

State Regents Chancellor Merryl Tish and the acting state education commissioner recently issued a letter that calls on the governor to create and push a bill that would allow the state to both remove and replace school boards in troubled districts, like Buffalo. 

Hochul did respond directly to that idea, but noted that much more can be accomplished together and put "the kids first."

Robert Gioia, president of the The Oishei Foundation, said the district should not recoil from assistance.

"There is no question that the most important issue that we resolve in this community is our public school system," said Gioia in a WBFO News interview.

Gioia says he respects board members for their effort, but he says it is time for them to "knock off the infighting" and  "check their egos at the door." 

"It's not about you. It's about the kids," said Gioia. "Do something and come together as a unit, as a combined membership of nine, to solve the challenges within the district."

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