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Press Pass: District's OCR report & Superintendent's search for staffers

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo Public School District was required to answer more than 50-questions the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights by last Friday. In this week's Press Pass conversation WBFO's Eileen Buckley and Buffalo News Reporter Tiffany Lankes discuss the troubled selection process for the city's criteria-based schools. Lankes also provides insight into the Superintendent's search for some new staffers.

"Asking for very specific details, very specific justification for why the district is opting to do this, not this. The District has prepared a very detailed response to that," said Lankes. "There's a lot of philosophical difference though I think both among people at the district and on the board about how to move forward."

In 2014 a parent complaint was filed that started questioning the admission criteria City Honors and Olmsted.

"But it's really evolved to become a lot more," noted Lankes. "A big sticking point in this is they were required to bring in an outside consultant in this who came in.  They did bring in a very regarded consultant. The report he issued really did get the scope of it expanded well outside the City Honors issue."

The District brought in Civil Rights expert Gary Orfield, but his recommendations were not approved by the school board.  "Is this an opportunity where you need to look at the system as a whole," noted Lankes.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo News Reporter Tiffany Lankes in the WBFO studio.

Lankes recently authored an article about Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash searching to add new professionals to his staff, but is not able to lure folks to Buffalo.

"The timing is really just horrible to get somebody at this moment in time because most educators would be reluctant to leave in the middle of the year, and Dr. Cash also mentioned the New York State certification process, which we saw with Pamela Brown," stated Lankes.  "It is a process. It's not automatic."

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