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School board reviewing two charter schools

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo school board has to make a decision tomorrow on the future of two charter schools with weak academic performance.

Under New York's system, charter schools require approval on various levels. So, the board is being asked to continue Enterprise and Westminster Community charters. If the board decides to do that, the recommendations go to the Board of Regents which has final power.

Last year, the Regents only gave Enterprise a one-year renewal following a struggle with the local school board. City staff members are recommending a full five-year extension.

Angela Cullen, director of the Office of School Leadership, says test scores aren't good.
"Westminster as you can see, their overall proficiency rate was just below 8 percent. Enterprise at 7.25 percent  and the Buffalo public schools was 1.45 percent. So, in this case both of these schools performed below the overall proficiency level for the district. Additionally, they were below the state level as well."

Cullen says the two schools have made major changes in staff and leadership and she says the changes are having a positive impact.

Board Member Carl Paladino says the schools should get a full five-year extension.

"They are a lot better than they were last year. So, there has been significant improvement," Paladino said.

"And who are we to not give them a fair opportunity? They changed leadership in both schools, okay. They brought in quality people. They've made all the right moves in every respect and even the staff admired the progress that they have made. With that, why not give them a fair opportunity to go on?"

Paladino says the board majority favors the city's troubled regular public schools and is opposed to the charter public schools which offer choice for parents.

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.