Funding shift for Virtual Learning Centers

“They're reaching out to me telling me bring him"
Posted at 5:34 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 20:47:26-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “I really couldn't imagine what my life would be like as a single parent without him going there,” declared Synta Adams, Buffalo school parent.

Synta Adams, Buffalo school parent.

Some Buffalo Public School families have been relying on Virtual Learning Centers to assist their child in spending a day in remote learning, while parents or guardians need to work and navigate other life challenges.

In December, 7 Eyewitness News visited with her son, Pharaoh, a second grader at BPS #81, who has been enrolled at the virtually learning center at the Delavan Grider Community Center during remote learning.

And even though 2nd graders were returned two-days a week at buffalo schools, Adams says she has opted to remain in remote learning and still sends him to the center.

Pharaoh, a second grader at BPS #81, at Delavan Grider Community Center during remote learning.

“Rather than set up the confusion for the parent and the student as in two days on — two days off — one day in the middle — the consistency is the best thing we have for the children right now,” Adams explains.

Initially Say Yes Buffalo helped to quickly get the learning sites opened at 50-non-profit day-care centers, churches and community centers.

But now their participation ends Thursday, March 5.

David Rust, executive director, Say Yes Buffalo, in Zoom interview.

“At this point and time, the centralized role that Say Yes has provided is ending, but that doesn’t mean that the sites themselves are ending,” stated David Rust, executive director, Say Yes Buffalo.

However, Rust explained some sites might stop the program and a child would be transferred to another locaiton.

"They may have to transfer to a different site, but I would encourage anybody who is having that challenge to please call our office and we will work to coordinate a site for a student,” said Rust.

Any family that needs assistance is asked to call Say Yes at 716-374-3763.

The centers were initially funded with $7-million from the Erie County Cares Act and another $1-million from Buffalo Schools.

Inside Virtual Learning Center at Delavan Grider Community Center.

Rust says funding will now shift to three new “funding stream”.

The county's supported Child Care subsidies, New York State’s 21st Century funding and a third, to be officially announced soon, involving a number of foundations who have pulled together private dollars to assist.

Funding for Virtual Learning Centers.

“And the third and the one which hasn’t gone public yet — but will be announced any day now — to ensure that students that need a virtual learning center and are currently enrolled with one will have access through the end of the school year,” Rust remarked.

Adams says the service will remain at Delavan Grider.

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Synta Adams, Buffalo school parent.

“They're reaching out to me telling me — bring him — nothing changed we're still keeping these kids online — doing what they need to do,” replied Adams.

Six Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo are continuing with the virtual learning centers for families that need the assistance.

Rust said an income cap remains in place. At the height of remote learning, there were about 1,800 students enrolled at the centers.