A rally cry against charter plans at four failing city schools

Oct 16, 2014

Citizens, students and minority school board members are calling on the State Education Commissioner to prevent plans to create charters at four failing city schools.

The plea was made on the steps of Lafayette High School late Wednesday morning.

Protest against proposed improvement plan for four failing city schools.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Last week the school board majority pushed forward a plan to create charters at Lafayette, Bennett High School, Martin Luther King and East High School.  But there is an swelling of opposition to the plan.

Four minority board members wrote a letter to the state education commissioner asking not to approve the charters as an improvement plan. Two appeared at the rally. At large board member Barbara Seals Nevergold said the board majority is conducting a "pattern of exclusion."

"And not to listen to a small group, a majority on the board, but a small group none the less who's intent is really to disassemble this district and turn it over to charter schools, private schools and catholic institutions," said Seals Nevergold.  

Ferry District school board member Sharon Belton-Cottman also spoke out against the school improvement plan.

A member of PUSH Buffalo speaks out at community rally.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"This is about disassembling the Buffalo Public Schools. The fact that we did not know last week that there was outrage in the board room as a result of the action tells me there is a goal to silence you," said Belton-Cottman.

Buffalo school parent Angelica Rivera said community voices must be heard.

Citizens & students rally on steps of Lafayette High School speaking out against proposed improvement plan.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"Ramming through a disrespecting the community and disrespecting the parents -- it is not okay," said Rivera.

"Ramming through a disrespecting the community and disrespecting the parents -- it is not okay," said Rivera.

Members of Citizen Action of New York, the Alliance for Quality Education and PUSH Buffalo also joined the rally.  Several students from Lafayette that represent the diverse population of the school also rallied against the proposed charter plan for their school in protest.

Students and minority school board members are calling on the State Education Commissioner John King to prevent plans to create charters at the four failing city schools.