Buffalo School Board votes to close MLK

Jun 12, 2014

The Buffalo School Board voted Wednesday night to Martin Luther King School 39 and convert it into the Martin Luther King Junior Medical Campus High School.

Only a small audience remained at Waterfront School during Wednesday's marathon school board meeting.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The fight over MLK was only one of the bitter disputes roiling the board as the current majority's time runs out and the new majority is getting ready to take over July 1 and have the votes to make major changes.

That showed up in the fight over the medical campus school, long backed by outgoing Board Member John Licata who sees the MLK site just down High Street as great for a school to train students for careers in health-related fields.

Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown says there will be paths to jobs right out of high schools and others up as far as medical school.

"Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Medical Campus School will have an intense academic focus on science, technology, engineering and math and provide CTE certification opportunities in medical assisting, laboratory technician, health information technology, environmental facility management and certified nursing assistant," Brown told the board.

There is a federal grant for nearly $4 million to pay for the startup.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Supporters of MLK say the nearly 600 students deserve to stay in the building. Instead, they say the medical campus school should be located several miles away in East High School.

It's unclear where the hundreds of current MLK students will go in September.

"We should be ashamed that we have allowed this to go on this far and arrive at this late date to make this kind of decision," said Board Member Carl Paladino.

"And, once again, I will say for the record, I will vote for this only for the reason that I will bring a vote in the first meeting in July to reconsider and at which time we're going to rescind it"

While the new board majority can vote to rescind the plan, it isn't clear that Albany will allow it.