BUFFALO (WKBW) The Buffalo Public School District has had some difficulty making the grade recently, with well documented issues with transfer requests, turnaround plans, and under-performing schools.
Now the Governor is getting involved with some new ideas and some drastic solutions.
If a school is failing and cannot fix itself, forceful change from the outside becomes necessary. That is what the Governor's "death penalty" would entail; a set of ideas for fixing failing schools that he outlined during his visit to Western New York on Thursday.
"Whether there is a takeover by the state, or mayoral control, or takeover by a charter school, there needs to be a death penalty for failing schools so to speak. Where we say the children come first, before the bureaucracy, and if the school fails, the school has to end," Governor Cuomo said.
Mayor Byron Brown took a stance on state takeover on Friday, but was a bit luke warm when it came to the idea of mayoral control of schools.
"I am not for any kind of state take over or state control of the school, but I'm certainly open to talking to the governor about his ideas," Mayor Brown said.
But from the parents side, Sam Radford and the District Parent Coordinating Council are on board with the Governor's efforts.
"I said amen, amen, and amen," Radford said.
Radford says if the district cannot or is not willing to fix itself, any outside help would be welcomed.
"If the Board of Education and the Superintendent are saying they can't do it, we want someone who can do it. If they won't do it, we want somebody who will do it. And that's whoever that is. If it's the Mayor that is willing to do it and the Common Council, let them do it. If it's the Governor who is willing to do it and the State Education Department, let's let them do it. If it's charter schools, whoever it is, it needs to be somebody who believes they can do it," Radford added.
The Governor's ideas all stem from pending legislation that would give the State Board of Regents the authority to remove school boards in under-performing districts and replace them with state oversight.
That will be looked at when the state legislature reconvenes.