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Community urged to rally against closing four failing schools

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo School Board will be deciding the fates of four failing city schools Wednesday evening. School Board members are expected to vote on the redesign plans for Bennett High School, Lafayette High School, East and MLK School.

A large rally will take place prior to the meeting. Parents, students, educators and state and local lawmakers will protest to keep the schools open. 

The school board's majority is expected to vote against the plans and allow charters to take over some of the buildings. But Alliance for Quality Spokesman Brian Trzciak says his group has been trying to lobby five board members.

"We need to keep the schools public," stated Trsicak. "We should think about these students in these schools and keep them there, and vote for these redesign plans."  

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Outside East High School.

Advocates of the redesign plans said it would help prevent the so-called "school-to-prison-pipeline."

Board member Sharon Belton Cottman said she plans to invoke conflict of interest laws to keep fellow board member Carl Paladino from voting Wednesday night on the futures of the buildings because of his investment in local charter schools. If that happens, it could deadlock the board four to four.

State Assemblywoman Cryrstal Peoples-Stokes, Assemblyman Sean Ryan and state Senator Marc Panepinto will be attended, as well as Buffalo Common Council members Michael LoCurto, David Rivera and Demone Smith.  Parents, students and educators will also rally to keep the four failing schools open.

The rally begins at 4:30 p.m. outside the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, 450 Masten Avenue, where the meeting will be held.