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City school board hears proposals from charter schools

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Three charter schools shared their plans Monday night over how they would use current public school buildings.  The public hearing at West Hertel Elementary School sets the stage for a key decision at Wednesday's meeting of the Buffalo Board of Education.

Albany has ordered four city schools closed and restarted as something else. Those schools are East, Lafayette, Bennett and Martin Luther King.

In each school, an alliance of teachers, administrators and parents has put together re-start plans geared to the individual buildings. Monday night, three charter schools, Tapestry, Applied Technology and Health Sciences, made their pitches to take regular public school space.

Board Member Carl Paladino praised the work of the charters in improving urban education during a very contentious meeting.
"This is a small part of it. There is a bigger picture to work on," Paladino said.

"Dysfunctionality just didn't happen. There are reasons for that dysfunctionality that we suffer today. Without looking to the past, we want to go forward with plans that will work."

Paladino has business relationships with Tapestry and Health Sciences. Board Member Sharon Belton Cottman says she will invoke conflict of interest laws to keep Paladino from voting tomorrow on the futures of the buildings. Potentially, that would deadlock the board four to four.

What that would do to Albany orders to close the four-schools or the charter requests isn't clear.


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.