State Approves Turnaround Plan for East and Lafayette High School

September 3, 2013 Updated Sep 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM EDT

By Mitch Simon

September 3, 2013 Updated Sep 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The turnaround plan for East and Lafayette High Schools has been approved by State Education Commissioner John King.

In a letter to district superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown, King writes:

"Thank you for submitting the proposed Buffalo Public School’s (BPS) Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) contracts for Buffalo School of Technology, East High School, Lafayette High School, and School 80. Under Education Law § 211-e(1), “[t]he board of education of a school district, and the chancellor of the city school district of the
city of New York, subject to the approval of the Commissioner, shall be authorized to contract, for a term of up to five years, with an educational partnership organization pursuant to this section to intervene in a school designated by the Commissioner as a
persistently lowest-achieving school, consistent with federal requirements, or a school under registration review.” Pursuant to the statute, with the approval of the Commissioner, districts may enter into a contract with an EPO under which the EPO assumes the powers and duties of a “superintendent of schools” for purposes of, among other things, implementing the educational program of the school, which includes, but is not limited to, budgetary decisions, staffing, student discipline decisions, decisions on curriculum, and
determining the daily schedule and school calendar (Education Law § 211-e[2]). In addition, Education Law § 211-e(3) gives EPOs the authority to exercise all powers of a “superintendent of schools” with respect to various employment decisions.

I am pleased to inform you that I am granting my approval to the Buffalo Public Schools to enter into contracts with the following Educational Partnership Organizations pursuant to Education Law § 211-e to serve at the schools indicated for the 2013-14 school

Schools - EPO
East High School - Johns Hopkins Talent Development
Lafayette High School - Johns Hopkins Talent Development
Buffalo Elementary School of Technology - Research to Practice
School 80 - Westminster Foundation

As noted above, this approval is limited to the Board of Education’s authority to enter into contracts with EPOs pursuant to Education Law § 211-e as described herein. In addition, this approval may be revoked by the Commissioner of Education at any time, and
is subject to the following terms and conditions: (1) that the requirements of both the contracts and Education Law § 211-e are being complied with at all times; (2) that the contracts are not amended, modified, terminated or canceled for any reason without first obtaining the Commissioner’s approval; (3) that there will be no assignments of, or material changes made to, the contracts, including changes to their scope and/or changes to the
deliverables required by each contract, without the Commissioner’s prior written approval; and (4) that the performance expectations and/or benchmarks for school operations and
academic outcomes described in each contract or as established for the school by the Commissioner pursuant to Part 100.18 of Commissioner’s Regulations are being achieved.
I also grant approval to Buffalo Public Schools to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services to provide career and technical education programs to students at East and Lafayette High Schools for the
2013-2014 school year. Under separate cover, you will be informed of the status of your School Under Registration Review plans for East High School and Lafayette High School, and your School Improvement Grant applications for School 80 and Buffalo Elementary School of Technology.

Thank you for your continued efforts to increase excellent academic options for Buffalo Public School students.

John B. King, Jr.

In July, Commissioner King sent a mandate to Superintendent Brown, providing an ultimatum to either allow Erie 1 Boces to take over control of the schools, or transfer all of the students to Erie 1 Boces.

It was agreed and voted upon by the Buffalo School Board of Education to make Johns Hopkins University the Educational Partnership Organization of those two schools, and allow Erie 1 Boces to offer vocational classes to those students.