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Proposals made for Bennett and East high schools

WBFO News file photo

With the Buffalo School Board less than a week away from deciding the future of four city schools, two of them were making that final pitch for support Thursday night.

On Monday, the pitches will be from charter schools seeking to take over all or part of some regular public schools. Albany has ordered the closings and re-starts of Martin Luther King, East, Lafayette and Bennett.

Administrators and teachers reacted by putting together their own plans for changing their buildings, with East choosing to plan around the jobs on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Charter schools have made proposals for three of the buildings. But Bennett Assistant Principal Martin Lyonga warned against charters. 

"Charter schools are here to kill the public schools. That fails the entire public. School buildings were closed. Money that was coming in from the federal government was immensely reduced," said Lyonga.

Lyonga told a crowd in Bennett his former public schools dropped from 18,000 to 8,000 in six years. He didn't identify the Flint, Michigan schools where he formerly worked.

Two different charter schools have made proposals for taking all or part of Bennett and will explain their plans on Monday.

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.