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Senate candidate Jacobs proposes return to neighborhood schools

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs, who is running for the 60th New York State Senate seat, says Buffalo school students are spending too much time on school buses every day. Jacobs stood outside the North Park Academy Tuesday calling for a return to neighborhood and community schools in the city.

“We see kids playing all the time on the weekends on this lawn. None of them go here, they are bussed somewhere else. Students in the Buffalo system are often bussed as long as two hours a day—an hour to, an hour from, to school. Ten hours a week on a bus. This is a flawed policy," said Jacobs.

Jacobs said of the more than 280-students who attend North Park, only four walk to school, the rest take the bus.

“This school really highlights the flaws of that policy, that bussing-centric policy, more than any other school in the Buffalo network of schools. This school, this year, has 288 students. 284 of them are bussed. Only four students in this entire school, in this vibrant neighborhood, walk," Jacobs stated.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
North Park Academy, Public School #66 at Parkside and Tacoma in north Buffalo.

Jacobs said the North Park Academy could be used as a demonstration model to create neighborhood schools

“The Buffalo Public School system transports 20,000 children a day on buses. They spend $50 million dollars a year on bussing. That’s over $2,000 per child. So what we want to see here, and what I would propose in terms of enabling something of a pilot program and some of the costs that may come about with transitioning to more of a neighborhood-based school is some of that savings of that $50 million dollars that we save a year by saving a hundred or 200 kids in this school from transporting every day on a yellow bus, we could use that to hire more teachers and enrich the classroom, and really do some education here as opposed to children riding a bus," explained Jacobs.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Chris Jacobs wants a return to neighborhood schools in Buffalo.

In 1972 a busing policy was designed to desegregate the city's public schools. But now reports indicate the schools are just as segregated as they were in the 70's. 

As for community  schools, the school district has been working to transform more than a dozen city schools into community schools to provide a number of after-school opportunities and serves for students and their families.   


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