BUFFALO, NY-- The Buffalo School Board has approved a transfer plan for students by a 6-3 vote. Board members Tiggs, Sampson and Paladino voted against the plan.
Back in June, the New York State Department of Education said the district broke the law by not letting students transfer out of low-performing schools.
The district submitted their plan to the state on Friday.
The district says it has received 2,219 applications from students to transfer to schools in good standing. However, only 300 student requests are expected to be immediately granted to actually move to different schools.
Parents will be notified by August 21 if their child will be transferred to another school. Those offered transfers will receive a phone call.
Will Keresztes, chief of Student Support Services, understands many will be disappointed. "It's a matter of physics. I'm as disappointed as anyone, the reality is, the district does not have 2,200 available seats in schools in good standing. We have to create a plan to develop that capacity. I know folks are going to be disappointed because we can't do it all at once."
Buffalo School Boardmember Carl Paladino wants more effort put into placing city students in suburban school districts or private schools. He also thinks the district needs to take action against students living outside of the city taking up spots in the high performing schools.
Notre Dame Academy in South Buffalo has reached out to Buffalo to say they are willing to open up seats for students wishing to transfer.
Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown issued the following statement:
The District has submitted a revision of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Public School Choice Corrective Action Plan that is the product of close collaboration with the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The original plan was formulated with consideration of input from District parents and staff. The plan submitted today was revised to reflect NYSED directives based on the original plan, in further consideration of State Education guidelines.
It is our expectation that the Corrective Action Plan meets the State Education Department's Public School Choice guidelines and is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as put forth through No Child Left Behind, per Commissioner John B. King.
As always, we strive to offer each student a world-class, 21st century education.
Parents and students who requested the transfers will not know which school they will be attending until closer to the start of the school year in September.
Later in the afternoon -- with a deadline looming -- the board then shifted its attention to discussion of East and Lafayette High Schools. The state issued a mandate to the district earlier in the summer to create a plan to fix both failing high schools by Monday at 5 p.m.
In separate votes, board members passed both the plans for East High School and Lafayette High School, and Johns Hopkins will serve as the Educational Partnership Organization -- essentially the acting superintendent -- of the two schools. Board members voted differently on the plans for each high school, mainly because of a divide over how to deal with Lafayette's plan with Johns Hopkins. As a part of its turnaround program, the university's plan included adding coaches for students who speak English as a second language, but there are questions as to how the district would pay for the new coaching positions.
"They stuck it in the plan, but they didn't have the budget money," said Paladino, who voted against the plan. "Then we'll get some astronomical budget numbers from these people."
Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold said the request for funding from Johns Hokpins would be no different than Brown making a request for a school under the district's jurisdiction.
"I don't see that it should be an issue," Nevergold said. "I'm sure we will have many requests for additional funding."