Buffalo Board of Education President Ralph Hernandez has called a Special Meeting of the board to be held in Room 801 City Hall on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to approve the PLA Plans and other matters.
In a committee meeting held on Wednesday, May 4, the proposal was put forth to opt for the EPO (Educational Partnership Organization) model for a total of seven of the 13 PLA schools in the Buffalo Public School District. Previously, there were four schools on the EPO list - #6 BEST, #33 Bilingual Center, #37 Futures Academy, and #59 Charles R. Drew Science Magnet Museum Site. Added to that list are #95 Waterfront, #204 Lafayette High School, and #307 East High School – all previously proposed under the Turnaround model of an EMO (Educational Management Organization).
The EPO Restart model, as set forth by the New York State Education Department, under Federal guidelines, calls for a non-profit agency to act as LEA (Local Educational Agency) to restart the school with a new principal if the current principal has been there for two years or more, fully evaluate current teachers and keep those who fit evaluation criteria, and retain any current students who wish to attend, provided it serves those grades.
The EPO model involves the district contracting with a non-profit Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) to manage or re-open the school. Under certain circumstances districts may also enter into contracts with the State University of New York, or in New York City, the City University of New York, for them to manage public schools. It does not necessitate the removal of half of the teachers.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore prefers this model to the EMO Turnaround model, which requires that no more than 50 percent of teachers be retained in the school after careful evaluation. However, in the EPO model, the LEA must only retain teachers who meet their evaluation criteria. In addition, the EPO model operates outside of the administration of the district's superintendent. Teachers who are removed from their current school will be moved to another school within the district.
Phil Rumore has stated previously that he is not in favor of the Turnaround model. The State Department of Education has made it clear that it will not approve plans that are not signed off on by Rumore.
The special meeting will address the various models and the board will vote on proposals to submit to the State Department of Education on Monday, May 9th. In addition to the schools mentioned above, the following schools will be submitted under a Transformation model: #39 Martin Luther King, #45 International School, #200 Bennett High School, #206 South Park High School, #301 Burgard High School, and #205 Riverside.
Go to http://www.oms.nysed.gov/press/attachb_jan2010.html for a fuller explanation of the four turnaround models. The state will release final criteria for EPOs on July 1st. Each school approved by the state is eligible for $2 million/year for three years.