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Plans for community schools coming into focus

Buffalo Public Schools

Buffalo schools are planning to convert 13 buildings to community schools, open from early morning until well into the evening and Saturday classes for students and parents.

Administrators are rushing to get the plans ready to be included in the budget slated to be passed next week and would use millions of dollars in the new state budget specifically for these schools.

Strategic Alignment and Innovation Chief David Mauricio says these aren't specifically neighborhood schools, like his boyhood school.

"They looked at my address and assigned me to a school based on the address that I lived at. And that's the neighborhood school model. You must go to this school because you live at this home address," Mauricio said.

Mauricio says the community schools will have vocational offerings, high school equivalency for parents and potentially advice on nutrition and eating, something  requested by parents.

"Our model is continuing the choice process but it's a model of a magnet approach in which we offer great programming, extended learning that doesn't exist in other schools, a walking school bus, one-to-one computers and a variety of other things," he said.

The district has a priority to convert the city's most troubled schools into community buildings, focus and priority schools. Many would be located in well-known buildings, like East South Park and Herman Badillo, most in communities of poverty.

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.