School district reaches MOU agreement with 'Say Yes'

Jun 28, 2013

Say Yes to Education Buffalo offers city public high school graduates a chance to go to college.  Earlier this week the  organization and Buffalo Board of Education reached agreement on their relationship going forward. 

Both sides drafted an eight-page memorandum of understanding as the program starts paying for new high school grads to go to college or into career training.

Students at a Say Yes event in Buffalo
Credit WBFO News file photo

The MOU covers everything from management to auditing of the money that's spent. 

During a Buffalo Board of Education meeting earlier this week, Say Yes executive director David Rust told a college success story of financial aid applications and in getting various academic assistance programs.

But outgoing school board member Ralph Hernandez was not pleased with the MOU.

"I don't have any problems with Say Yes. The issue with me is the MOU that was drafted creating the relationship between the administration or should I say the district  and the Say Yes.  To me, there were many questions left unanswered that I felt very uncomfortable supporting it. I made those points clear to the say yes folks and the administration and hopefully long after I'm gone they will be able to work that out," said Hernandez.

Rust also told the school board Say Yes has a new computer system with all kinds of personal details about each city student and how they are doing academically.

"We have this level of this information for half the students in the district right now. Literally this hasn't been launched anywhere else in this country. The Department of Education was here a few weeks ago for a visit and they were thoroughly impressed with the type of data collected.  If the student isn't showing up on a daily basis, that allows us to have somebody go to that home, knock on the door or meet in the school regularly with the parent or guardian of that student on the importance of going to school on a daily basis too really intervene with true services," said Rust.

The organization is building a detailed data base on students including physical, emotional and family information.

As students are admitted to college and start to attend or go into career-training, the program will put all of that information into the computer system to keep track of how they do.

The information is already used to run after-school tutoring and will be used to knock on the doors of students who fail to attend.

"If a student is flagged as reading two grade levels below their reading what they should be, we can embed that child in an afterschool program with a focus on literacy," said Rust.

The school board unanimously approved the MOU.