City Schools get $7.9 Million from State Education Department

October 19, 2010 Updated Oct 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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City Schools get $7.9 Million from State Education Department

October 19, 2010 Updated Oct 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The Buffalo City School District will receive $7.9 million for the 2010-2011 school year to help turn around its Persistently Lowest Achieving schools through the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, according to the State Commissioner of Education.

The money is part of more than $300 million that was made available to New York State through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other education grant programs.

Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert M. Bennett said, "We are entering a new era of reform in which we will build upon New York’s current initiatives to intervene in low performing schools and improve student outcomes. New federal funding allows us to work with districts to go beyond incremental improvements to create truly excellent models of education for students, particularly in those schools where students need our help the most. The State Education Department will actively support the district’s transformation process."

The Education Department identified 5 persistently lowest-achieving schools in seven districts across the state. Those districts then had to apply for School Improvement Grants (SIG) to support the implementation of one of four intervention models. To receive the funding for this school year, the identified schools must implement one of the following intervention models:

- RESTART MODEL: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.

- TURNAROUND MODEL: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies.

- TRANSFORMATION MODEL: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time and, by the end of the 2010-11 school year, amend any existing collective bargaining agreement as necessary to require that teachers (or building principals where applicable) assigned to these schools be evaluated in the 2011-12 school year and thereafter in accordance with recently enacted legislation pertaining to principal and teacher evaluation.

- SCHOOL CLOSURE: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.

Four Buffalo schools received funding to implement the Transformation model, including: Dr. Martin Luther King Institute #39 ($1.8 million), Bennett High School #200 ($2.0 million), South Park High School #206 ($2.0 million) and International School 45 ($2.0 million).

You can read the Buffalo Schools application for the School Improvement Grant here.