Buffalo Schools, Another Missed Opportunity

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:46 AM EDT

By WKBW Admin

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 7:46 AM EDT

Buffalo, NY

There's no doubt that the Buffalo public school district is in need of a serious intervention but loosing such a pivotal educational partner this week makes it seem like they're fighting a loosing battle.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for Lafayette and East High schools. John Hopkins University,a prestigious educational institution would take over both schools and turn them into a success.

But the project isn't free. Hopkins is supposed to be paid by a state grant which is being held up over teacher evaluations.

"Johns Hopkins is a legitimate operator. It has a real business model and it understands that you can't come in in the last minute and throw together a plan to operate a school at the last minute it's understandable what Johns Hopkins did what's not understandable is what the Buffalo Teachers Federation is doing," said Sam Radford, President of the Buffalo Parent District Coordinating Council.

If the teachers federation continues to fight the new evaluation system handed down by the state grant money to pay educational partners like Johns Hopkins will continue to be blocked.
$5.6 million already this year and more than $50 million next year.

"There are consequences to holing back and not approving or disapproving plans in a timely fashion. There are consequences to wordsmithing documents that have to do with agreements all our adult issues have held us up so long that we've lost this wonderful opportunity for our children," said Amber Dixon, Interim Superintendent.

"The bottom line is that there is no reason that the Commissioner could have said to Johns Hopkins you're going to get it pending approval of the BTF and the other unions and the district and the state," said Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

Frustrated parents say they will not let another year pass and if there is no agreement soon they're planning an occupy protest of their own.

"We're not going to leave, we're going to draw a line in the sand and we're going to stay there until we get a resolution," said Radford.