Graduation Rates Drop in Buffalo Schools

June 17, 2013 Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 11:18 PM EDT

By Allen Leight

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June 17, 2013 Updated Jun 17, 2013 at 11:18 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The graduation rates in the Buffalo Public Schools is heading in the wrong direction.

Rates fell from 54% in 2011 to 46.8% in 2012.

"When you have a school district that's been failing this long, you may need to disrupt failure in order to advance the school district.", says Samuel Radford III, President of District Parent Coordinating Council.

New Superintendent Pamela Brown and a newly elected school board may be part of that change.

Superintendent Brown declined an on-camera interview but released the following statement:

"Upon my arrival in Buffalo, I learned that the District's graduation rate from 2011-2012 was around 48% based on preliminary results. In response to that, the District immediately implemented several strategies in order to improve our graduation rate, including the following:

Creating a College-going Culture through:
-Setting an aggressive target of an 80% graduation rate by 2018
-Informing the community about Say Yes scholarships Ensuring that all graduating seniors apply for college and scholarships

Improving Instruction through:
-Providing professional development for all staff Conducting Instructional Rounds in all schools Increasing access to student data for early intervention

Interventions for Struggling Students through:
- Providing after-school academic programs Providing a Credit Recovery program Offering Summer School for all students

With these key strategies in place, we are very optimistic that increased graduation rates will follow. As always, it is our goal to provide a world-class education for every child."

Newly elected south district board member Carl Paladino says that is not enough.

"They keep giving us these master plans that are really going nowhere because we don't have the qualified leaders with the experience to lead this district," said Paladino.

Paladino says Brown and other administration leaders need to go and new leadership brought in, adding that in a district where taxpayers are paying more than $26,000 per student each year, they should expect a better return on their investment.

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