Schools open, concerns continue for WNY school districts

Homeschooling organizations see flood of parents reaching out as fall start dates inch closer
Posted at 11:31 PM, Sep 15, 2020

(WKBW) — School is back in session for both Lackawanna and Williamsville students, but tensions continue to boil. In Lackawanna, concerned families, a council member and clergy came together Tuesday evening to call on the district to disclose its plan for a virtual learning partner. They also wanted the district to answer why it chose one organization over another.

“If you bring two people to the table and you say work together and one is inadequate in what they have to work with as opposed to the other that has everything it needs to work, why do they have to work together? That’s just what’s happening right now,” said Larry Donaldson. He is the Executive Director of the Community Cares Program.

Donaldson and others feel the school district should’ve given the Community Cares Program to work with in an effort to support working parents by giving students a safe place to learn. The group says they have the best tools to help disproportionately effected families, but the district chose the YWCA as its preferred partner instead.

“Let’s not find the easiest way out. Let’s find the best way out. We offered the best way out, hands down,” said Donaldson.

Lackawanna Schools Superintendent Keith Lewis defended the district’s decision, and said there is nothing to hide.

“We understand that there was an issue. We addressed it and again it’s full transparency,” said Lewis. He added the YWCA was the only organization to present a full plan before the grant submission deadline, but wants to see the two groups work together.

“Because I do see value in having more people work together for the betterment of our students and this community,” said Lewis.

Earlier in the day, protests in Williamsville continued over the remote learning model for grades 5-12. Williamsville students took to the school district’s lawn instead of sitting down for their first day of remote learning.

The district’s plan is to stay remote until January for those grades, but some students want to see a live-stream option where in-classroom lessons are streamed for students.

Acting Superintendent Dr. John McKenna said several committees are looking into all learning options for students.