Assemblyman Ryan urges solutions, not closures of failing schools

Feb 11, 2015

The Buffalo School Board is expected to decide this week on final plans for four failing city schools. But earlier this week the board's majority aidd it will not act on the proposed plans for those schools unless it is able to negotiate a new contract with the Buffalo Teachers Federation. 

WBFO's Focus on Education reporter spoke with State Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo about the future of those schools.

In the past, State Assemblyman Sean Ryan and other State leaders from Buffalo have rallied against closing East High School.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"So what I'm hoping is that level heads prevail," said Assemblyman Ryan.  The lawmaker from Buffalo has been rallying against closing the failing schools. The New York State Education Department has called on the city school district to come up with solutions or close Lafayette High School, Bennett High School, East High School and Martin Luther King School.  

Ryan tells WBFO News the threat of closing the four schools is sending 'shock waves' through the community.      

Outside Lafayette High School, one of the four failing city schools that it is in Assemblyman Ryan's District.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"Closing these schools puts a tremendous shockwave through communities," stated Ryan.  "They have no idea the impact that that causes say on the West Side community -- we might just close Lafayette, or we might just close Bennett," said Ryan. 

In the past Ryan and other state leaders from Buffalo have suggested the State Education Department visit Lafayette  and East because those schools are considered "prime examples" of the challenges facing urban schools.

"Rochester has the same problems we have, Syracuse has the same problems we have. But the state Education Department has put Buffalo under very unrealistic deadlines," noted Ryan.

A vote on the proposed plans for the struggling schools was delayed a couple of weeks ago. The school board meets again Wednesday evening, but word surfaced the board might not vote until Friday morning during a special meeting scheduled for 10:30.  If the city school board fails to meet the state deadline, school phase-out plans would go into effect and it's believed charter schools could take over some  those buildings.   

"I'm pessimistic about any outcome at this point because it really does seem like the school board is really, really more inclined to beating each other up, than helping our school children," said Ryan.
Outside MLK School for past protests against attempt to close it down.
Credit WBFO News file photo

"I'm pessimistic about any outcome at this point because it really does seem like the school board is really, really more inclined to beating each other up, than helping our school children," said Ryan.