NYS Education Commissioner Visits WNY, Discusses Buffalo Schools

11:55 PM, Sep 12, 2013   |    comments
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AMHERST, NY-- New York State Education Commissioner John King stopped by two local schools districts in WNY to check up on how new guidelines are being implemented.

He met with Amherst School District officials and then headed to Maryvale.

The meetings were routine to make sure the districts are complying with state standards and are finding ways to improve.

King made some comments, while in Amherst, about Buffalo Schools, specifically on the idea of state control of under-performing districts like Buffalo.

He says right now, it is up to the state legislature to begin debating the issue in Albany.

King has put forward a proposal for the legislature to pass a bill that would give the Board of Regents the authority to take over school boards in districts failing academically or financially. "That's a legislative proposal that has not moved forward yet, we will again, when the legislature returns in January, advocate for that proposal, not specific to Buffalo, but because we believe if governance is a chronic problem in the under-performance of a district the Board of Regents should have the authority to intervene," says King.

"At some point, there has to be a change and if the local people are not initiating the change, or the change in leadership, well then I think it is appropriate for the state to come in," said Assemblymember Jane Corwin, a Republican.

Meantime, Assemblymember Sean Ryan, a Democrat disagrees with King and says, "what I'd want Chancellor King to do is come here and explain to the parents, about the legislation, he doesn't have to explain to me, he needs to explain to the people who use our education system and that's who's been left out in this equation." 

Ryan is referring to parents and students who he thinks have been left out. Commissioner King hasn't met with Buffalo families, but has sent a representative to school meetings. 



The proposal comes after disturbing student performance numbers, such as a high school graduation rate of only 53 percent for Buffalo Public School students.


Governor Cuomo has gone on record saying he doesn't think the state should control Buffalo schools or any school district.

Meantime, Assemblymember Corwin couldn't give us any evidence that a Board of Regents overseer would work. We heard from Senator Tim Kennedy, who believes meetings with parents, students and lawmakers will help.

One of those meetings will be held October 2nd at Kleinhans Music Hall.

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