District gathers more public input on two failing city schools

Jul 25, 2013

The Buffalo school board held the second of its two public meetings over the future of East and Lafayette High Schools Wednesday night at Lafayette.

Community members speak at public meeting about two failing city high schools.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

The board must make a decision next Wednesday on a ruling from State Education Commissioner John King that students from the two academically failing city schools have to be allowed to take vocational training from Erie 1 BOCES.

The board has to decide if it wants BOCES to actually run either of the schools or run them in cooperation with Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins has already been running an intensive program in both schools, readying for major changes for both students and teachers in September. 

A major issue at Wednesday's meeting was the multi-lingual makeup of the student body with Class President Cristal Fernandez pointing to a flyer announcing the meeting only in English.

"How many languages is this in? This program for here is for all of our students is in English. A lot of our students do not know English and they can hardly understand. Also Lafayette High School is like a family for these students. They come here and they feel like they are home and they never want to leave here," said Fernandez.

Lafayette students speak 43 languages with interpreters for six languages at the meeting translating for students and parents in the audience.

Parents, students and teachers are concerned there won't be enough language help for those students who take BOCES courses, with administrators who say help is available.

A decision by the school board must be  made at a special meeting on July 31.