Republican Candidate for the 60th State Senate District, Chris Jacobs is proposing Buffalo Public Schools return to the “neighborhood schools model.” “It's that much harder for parents to be involved in the education of their students,” Jacobs said.
That's why if he's elected, he'll advocate for returning to a neighborhood model. That means a majority of students would attend school closer to where they live. That allows them to walk or bike to school instead of catching a bus.
Jacobs said North Park Academy on Parkside Avenue would be used as a model for the neighborhood school system. Close to 300 students attend school there but just four walk and the rest are bused. Jacobs said that transportation cost is part of the problem with the current school model. “Buffalo spends $50 million a year, to bus children, wasting all this money and all this time. There's children in the City of Buffalo very commonly who ride the bus two hours a day. That's 10 hours a week,” Jacobs explained.
Democratic opponent, Amber Small said she would support neighborhood schools but only if there was first a stronger investment into neighborhoods. “Studies have shown that neighborhood schools do very little to improve education with a child unless that neighborhood is also thriving,” Small said.
Instead, Small said she supports increasing the number of community based schools in Buffalo. “Community schools put more social services into a school building. Things like tax prep for parents, legal aid, after school hours for kids,” Small added.
Buffalo Public schools are being debated among the candidates because the state foots the bill for 85 percent of transportation costs. So, whoever wins the November Election will have a hand in the issue moving forward. However, the decision would still require support from the district and the school board.
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