Parents Want City To Close Problem Schools And Reopen Them As Charters

December 6, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 12:31 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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December 6, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 12:31 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) A Buffalo City Council committee heard a new idea Wednesday night...that's meant to improve failing schools. Parents say their plan would end the conflicts between the school board and its union and would get parents and the community more involved. The Buffalo School Board and the Buffalo Teachers Federation have not been able to agree on a teacher evaluation plan for the district. The stalemate means that city schools might miss out on millions of dollars of extra financial support.

"We can no longer tolerate an inept and unproductive system to educate our children," a local pastor remarked. At the Buffalo Common Council's committee on education meeting, representatives of the school district parent coordinating council talked about their idea to improve schools.

"We're pitching the closing of all 45 of the failing Buffalo Public Schools and the reopening of them as district sponsored charter schools at the end of the school year," said Samual Radford, President of the Buffalo Public School's Parent Coordinating Council. Plans are underway to mobilize support for their idea. It starts this weekend at city churches. Religious leaders will pass petitions and look for members of the community to step up and get involved in running and supporting their neighborhood schools.

"Westminster Charter School, it's example of what we are looking for. Because, in that particular case, that community along with M&T Bank, adopted responsibility for that school. That school is now part of the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. They got a federal grant, that gives them an opportunity...so they are building an early childhood center in that neighborhood. Parents have access to that building after school and on weekends. It's an example of what we are looking for," Radford added.

The city has already missed out on about four million dollars in incentive aid. Another 33.5 million dollars hangs on a January deadline. " The superintendent has been very clear that obviously it would be devastating on our students. So, we are focused on avoiding that out come," Said Dr. Will Keresztes, Associate Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools.

School officials say they are optimistic that they will have something favorable to report to the community soon. But, the parent council is moving to gather support to try and force the district to enact it's plan.