Important day for Buffalo schools

Jul 22, 2013

The first of two community meetings will be held tonight in Buffalo's East High School about Education Commissioner John King's plan for turning around East and Lafayette High. As WBFO's Chris Caya reports, at least one state lawmaker is concerned with King's mandate.

With three-quarters of East and Lafayette High students failing to graduate, King pulled the plug on the district's plan to have Johns Hopkins University turn the schools around before the plan was implemented. Instead, King ordered Buffalo to let students attend BOCES in suburban schools.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan calls it a monumental step.

"There's not been a case that I can find where they've ordered a district to put their kids in other districts and for the first district to pay for it. So this isn't something that's tried and true. There's no track record of this working," said Ryan.

Lafayette is in Ryan's Assembly District. It's not a vocational school, so he questions why King is telling students to attend BOCES. From what he's seen, Ryan says the school is under control and orderly and King's plan seems like the wrong remedy for the problem.

"The first thing that strikes you when you walk through Lafayette High School is that you feel as though you're in a United Nation's conference. You see people from all over the world. You see all different races. And then you hear many many languages. There are 45 languages being spoken at Lafayette High School. I just question whether or not telling a student from Lafayette that they could be bussed to Cheektowaga to go to vocational programming is an answer to them," said Ryan.

And with just over a month to go before the school year starts - Ryan wonders if BOCES is prepared to offer classes in 45 languages. He says creating chaos in the Buffalo Schools may not be helping the situation in any way.