Parent protest gains school board attention

Apr 24, 2014

Faced with a potential sit-in at the board room, the Buffalo School Board last night agreed to a direct meeting next Wednesday with the District Parent Coordinating Council.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Wearing "Parent Power" t-shirts, activists marched from the Common Council chamber on City Hall's 13th floor down to the board room on the eighth-floor, chanting all the way and then sat there.

The DPCC says the board isn't paying enough attention to parents as required by state and federal law. They are demanding to be included in decisions like closing schools.

"At the end of the process, we are not letting children who are in failing schools, particularly at MLK, not have an option on where they go.," said DPCC President Sam Radford.

"We are not going to let them just farm out these children to other failing schools. According to law, they have a requirement to create create a school in good standing and all we want them to do is follow the law."

For the district, the problem is that it has lots of failing schools and very few schools in good standing, most of which are operating at capacity.

The school board approved a plan to move former Pinnacle Charter School students from their temporary home to Harvey Austin School which has terrible test scores. 

"I understand all that. I heard and understand that that building is not up to code. That should be off the table. We can't keep revisiting something that's not going to work.," said Board Member Theresa Harris-Tigg.

"But, in this merger we should commit that over the next year (that) both school communities will work on a new plan that works together for the good of all."

The plan is that the parents and administrators from the two schools will use the coming school year to develop a completely new plan for the building by the fall of next year. That plan will need state approval.