Buffalo school district considers merger of Middle College and I-Prep

Jan 14, 2013

Buffalo school board members will find out this week how bad is the fiscal picture for the rest of this and next year.  Meanwhile, they have to decide on a potential cost-saver, merging Early Middle College High School and International Prep.

Buffalo's public school enrollment may be stabilizing after years of falling although some feel there are too many buildings, many in small or rented space. Both Middle College and I-Prep are relatively small and Middle College is in rented space, near ECC where many students take classes.

Both schools are struggling academically and district officials say they could save money by putting both schools in the newly renovated Grover Cleveland High School building with only one principal.

Buffalo School Board member Rosalyn Taylor says 'no way.'

"I'm leaning toward maintaining the identity of each of the high schools. I know it may not be a cost-effective approach but the Middle Early high school, as well as I-Prep, they've shown significant improvement," said Taylor.

Statistics for I-Prep are being questioned by faculty who argue there are only two years of graduations under study and Albany requires three to rate a school as failing.

Supporters of both schools cite strong teaching and lots of student attention. Middle College teacher Eric Simonsen says students discover they can learn and plan for college.

"I always laugh because the freshman continually say I won't be here next year and I ask them, why is that? 'This is too hard, this is just too hard.'  And, they have to be told maybe it's hard but you're capable. I went to college. You're capable. I was no special student. And, they begin to learn this as they go along. Okay, again.the idea of college is a daily thing to them," said Simonsen.

Simonsen says not only do more city students need to go to college but they also have to finish.