25 Buffalo public schools in receivership

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Twenty-five Buffalo public schools are being placed into receivership, with Buffalo Interim School Superintendent Darren Brown having the final word on turn-around plans.

Brown says the Buffalo School Board will still play a role.

This is the last chance for these struggling schools to make major improvements before the state calls all the shots.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has made it known she wants to see results.

During a visit in Buffalo last week she said, “This is an important opportunity for the Superintendent to take the reigns of this and move forward.”

During a briefing session in Albany, Brown said, “I have some additional power to extend the school day or school year and establish professional development plans. We can actually remove staff or rehire staff.”

Teachers who might be relocated would require ninety days notice. There would also have to be negotiations with the Buffalo Teacher’s Federation regarding contract issues. If agreement cannot be reached, the State Education Commissioner would have the final say.

Some groups are being cautious in their reaction to the upcoming changes.

“I think to some extent it seems as if the state is dictating what should and shouldn’t happen,” said Larry Scott, Co-Chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization.

He is hopeful  parents and teachers will be included in decisions for individual struggling schools and that there still will be a collective bargaining process in effect for teachers and administrators.

“If somebody were to come in, and for example, replace the staff or remove the staff or remove the principal, that’s just going to create more chaos and disruption,” he said.

Buffalo School Board President Jim Sampson is hoping the district will have more flexibility when it comes to union issues.

He says he is open to change.

“The reality is, if the kids aren’t getting high quality education, families don’t have a choice of what that education ought to be, then all of that care about this community ought to say this is the kind of thing that has to happen and should happen, and we should support it.”

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