NY Regents approves regulation that could change five Buffalo struggling schools

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The New York State Board of Regents Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations that could change how some schools in Buffalo will operate.

The regulations is aimed at persistently struggling schools or those that have posted failing test scores for at least 10 years.

There are five Buffalo schools in the first group which will allow them to share in $75 million state turnaround funds. They are: Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, Futures Preparatory, West Hertel Academy, Burgard and South Park High Schools.

The new rule could put control of some city schools into the hands of the superintendent or an outside entity. Any turnaround plan would have to be approved by the state education commissioner.

Changes can include:

  • Changes to the school’s budget
  • A new curriculum
  • Requiring staff to reapply for their jobs
  • Longer school days or year
  • Converting the school to a charter or community school
  • Requesting changes in the union agreement

“It’s trying to put together a way of saving those schools who are struggling by giving the districts or an outside entity the authority to run the schools the way they feel they can work with those schools,” said Catherine Collins, Buffalo Regent.

Collins who joined in voting for the new regulations said the changes do not include scraping the district’s union contracts. “What relationship they have with the unions would have to be laid out first for us to make a decision on that and it all comes back before the Board of Regents,” Collins said.

The regulation which goes into effect on June 23 will be open for 90 days of public comment before the Regents gives final approval in September.

The Buffalo School District declined comment pending a meeting Thursday with the state Department of Education. The list of schools will be made final next month.

he regulation stems from a new law passed in April that included $75 million in state aid over two years to turnaround failing schools.

Superintendents can be given the power to run schools that have been failing since 2006-07 and those struggling since 2012-13. If the schools fail to improve, the school can be turned over to an independent entity.

The independent receiver would serve under a contract with the state education commissioner.

The new rules also require the superintendent to consult with the community by conducting hearings and regular reports.

The Buffalo school district declined comments pending a meeting Thursday with state education officials.

According to a state report on failing schools, Buffalo has 14 schools that have failed to meet test score guidelines for the past 10 years.

On teacher evaluations, the regents also gave districts four additional months from the nov. 15 deadline to put the program in place

 

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