Tue April 24, 2012
Pinnacle Charter School slated to close; BPS heading to Albany to plead for funds
The New York State Board of Regents today followed a recommendation to close Pinnacle Charter School in June at the end of the current school year.
The Education Department recommended the school closing because of persistent sub-par scores on state tests. There is no appeal process, although school officials were meeting with legal counsel Tuesday about a possible lawsuit to block the closing.
Parents, teachers, and students have been rallying in recent days to keep the school open.
Pinnacle Charter school is already at capacity with 560 registrations for this fall. Buffalo Schools Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon and School Board President Louis Petrucci said the district is willing to welcome the students if Pinnacle does close.
Meanwhile, it appears Buffalo Public Schools officials will be going to Albany to try and get funding restored.
Dixon says she was told by Teachers Union President Phillip Rumore that he will not sign the teacher evaluation plan due today. That means the district will lose $5.6 million in aid for six low-performing schools.
Dixon says she has a hearing scheduled with the State Education Department on Thursday.
"At that hearing we're going to try to present reasons why these funds should be restored anyways. What we have is we have a document that's approvable, we have an agreement signed with our administrators union, and we certainly have a willingness to evaluate teachers based on the document that we sent to the state Education Department."
"We don't know if that's going to qualify us for these funds, but we have to fight until the last minute and see if we can make this happen."
Rumore has claimed the union will sue the state if the funding is withheld, but Dixon says she's not sure what good that will do. She says Buffalo School students don't have five years to wait for a lawsuit to be settled.
Without the aid, Dixon says the district will have to lay off dozens of teachers and staff at the end of the school year.