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Three city schools part of suit seeking receivership funds

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Parents in Albany, Yonkers and New York City are suing Governor Cuomo's Division of Budget asking for the immediate release of receivership grants promised to nine struggling schools. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the lawsuit will affect three Buffalo Public Schools.  

"We are named in that lawsuit. We will be presenting our case,” said MaryEllen Elia, New York State Education Commissioner.

WBFO News asked Elia about the lawsuit while she appeared at Daemen College in Amherst Thursday.

The State Education Department is among four defendants named in the lawsuit.  The Alliance for Quality Education is supporting parents in their suit and says parents are 'bewildered' as to why the governor is withholding funding. But some of the schools were removed from receivership by the state education department earlier this year and the Governor's office says they are no longer be eligible for the funding. 

Elia tells WBFO News the state allocated $75-million for two years for school districts dealing with receivership.

“From the perspective of where the state Ed Department, from the very beginning, we have indicated that we believe those schools were given a two-year grant and that they should be able to have the funding that should come to them,” Elia explained. 

Three Buffalo schools, Burgard, South Park and Buffalo Elementary School of Technology are part of the suit seeking the funds. Elia noted she has talked to the superintendent in all the districts involved in this receivership funding battle. 

“I know that they are working very hard to do what they can to maintain the same programs that allowed those students to have that kind of success last year, even though there has not been funding, but it is effecting them and I think it is important for us all to be aware of that,” remarked Elia.

The Alliance for Quality Education said the funding would allow for more improvements at the schools this school year.  A court appearance is set for Friday in State Supreme Court in Albany. 

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