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Parents call for fixes to city after-school programs

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some Buffalo Public school parents are calling on the city district to make needed changes to the after-school programs. 

The District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) said there are several issues that must be changed.  For example, start and end dates for after-school programs do not coincide with the start and end to the school year. Some of the programs end before 5 p.m. when parents are still at work.  

Jessica Bauer Walker, DPCC 2nd Vice President & Chair of the After-school Committee, tells WBFO News the quality from program to program is inconsistent.

"Our patience is run out.  There's not enough notice for parents in terms of when the program will start and end, so we can plan for the school year," stated Bauer Walker.  "There's an academic component, but also a recreational component, a cultural component and a social-emotional component." 

The DPCC said there is a 'lack of opportunities' for the whole child development and adherence on a building of district level to quality standards for expanded learning programs.

"Schools and programs that have a community partner have outside funding, are running real high quality programs," noted Bauer Walker. "It's not fair for some students to get those programs and others not to."

The DPCC issued a letter to Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash in September, but the organization said it continues to be put off from school year to school year for what they say are 'basic fixes'.

"I think parents make really important points," said Will Keresztes, Associate Superintendent.  "I think their points are valid. The district agrees with the points the parents are making and we have to do better."

Bauer Walker said 'ultimately' it is a decision Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash and his staff can make without school board approval.   

"We are going to keep staying on this. We are actually going to put together observation teams of parents to go into school to see what is happening in real time," stated Bauer Walker.

"There has not been the stability and predictably that parents expect in after-school programs," said Keresztes.  

Keresztes said the next step is to form a partnership with Say Yes Buffalo to create the infrastructure that is needed. A work team will be put together in January. But Keresztes tells WBFO News he told his staffers some of the requests are 'reasonable' and could be look at for this year.  

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