Tumultuous transfer period expected in Buffalo schools

Mar 18, 2014

DPCC President Sam Radford is pushing for 10,000 student transfers in Buffalo schools.
Credit WBFO File Photo

With so many failing schools in the city of Buffalo, the District Parent Coordinating Council is pushing for 10,000 students to file for transfers.

A power struggle has emerged between the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) and the school system because students have the legal right to transfer out of failing schools and into successful schools. However, the district has almost no successful schools other than "criteria" schools like Olmsted and City Honors.  The decision not to open two new schools has added to the tension.

Last year, 2,000 students applied for transfers; only 500 transfers were granted.

According to parent and school board candidate Wendy Mistretta, students at School 45 received letters trying discourage transfers.

"It's the right of the parents to have the option to choose another school that is in good standing. And, to hear from the acting principal that she doesn't want us to act on that right undermines the right," Mistretta said.

"It can be intimidating from a person of power, especially for the families who are new to this country."

Mistretta has a child at City Honors and now her other child has been admitted there.

The DPCC is challenging the entire system of admissions to the criteria schools. DPCC President Sam Radford last night questioned the validity of admission tests.

Radford says one of his children transferred into Olmsted from a failing school after a lot of time and effort.