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Proposed ‘phase-in’ plans for four failing schools

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo Board of Education is now reviewing school phase-in plans before sending a final decision on four-failing schools to the State Education Department. WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says two phase-in proposals were presented to board members Monday.

Bennett High School and Martin Luther King Multicultrual Institute are slated to shut down as persistently failing schools. But each school presented 30-minute proposals to the school board. Bennett's plan calls for more technology in the classroom, iPads, a longer school day and student-driven curriculum. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Margaret Puzio is a retired schools superintendent from Batavia City Schools. She is an alumni of Bennett and helped create the proposal.

Margaret Puzio is a retired schools superintendent from Batavia City Schools. She is an alumni of Bennett and helped create the proposal.

"There is so much that we can do. We know how to do, it's just a matter of figuring out how to get all the pieces of the puzzle together," said Puzio in a WBFO News interview following a presentation. "But I don't think it's a mystery. I think we can pull it off."

The plan for the MLK school calls to create the Dr. Martin Luther King Legacy School. It would enhance a students learning experience with multi-cultural education, especially for inner-city children.

"Multi-culture education -- with an emphasize on Africa-American history and culture, including local history. And we're not just talking about during the month of February," said Ramona Thomas Reynolds,  Principal of MLK.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
The team from MLK presented the proposed Phase-in plan to the school board.

The proposal would also create a new afterschool program. 

But school board members question the need for MOU's with the teachers union on some of the items in both MLK's and Bennett's proposal.  Board member Carl Paladino even accuses Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore of using it as a tactic to get pay raises.

"And what he is doing is playing the old 'Rumore game' of then having leverage on us," said Paladino.

School board member Barbara Seals Nevergold said the district needs to reach collective bargaining with the union. "They cannot really move forward on any talks with the union. That's something the district has to do," said Nevergold.

School board members Carl Paladino and Barbara Seals Nevergold talking about Phase-in presentations.

More presentations will be delivered Tuesday for Lafayette and East High Schools.  The city school board must decided by January 28th in order meet a state deadline of January 30th.   

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