Tapestry Charter eyeing a city school building for expansion

Feb 11, 2016

Leaders at the Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo want to purchase a former city school building for expansion.  An informational session was held Wednesday evening where the proposal was presented to parents and the board of trustees.  But as WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley learned, some parents are in opposition.

Inside Tapestry Charter School on Great Arrow in Buffalo a couple of years ago where students were showing off computers.
Credit WBFO file photo by Eileen Buckley

Tapestry's Compass Leadership Team announced plans to expand its footprint. It wants to buy a former a school building on Olympic Avenue, not far from  the Kensington Expressway, to house students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. That's a little more than four-miles from the current location on Great Arrow in north Buffalo were about 840-students in K-through 12 attend. Some parents have complained to State Assemblyman Sean Ryan of Buffalo.

"The environment we're in in Buffalo, where you can have these choices in schools, that they chose Tapestry for many reasons, including its location, but also because of the really nice facilities and amenities that are available at that school," explained Ryan.

One parent, who did not want to be identified, tells WBFO News  she was "stunned" to find out just last week that some students would be uprooted for the fall of this year.  

WBFO News spoke with Tapestry Executive Director Joy Pepper. She did not want to offer any recorded comments, preferring to wait until the board votes February 24th. Parents have been told the school cannot afford to build at the current site, even though it owns seven acres of land off Great Arrow.

Ryan responded to that concern. "I can't really comment on that. I know that looking at Tapestry's financial filings with the IRS they finish in the positive, over $300,000 every year, so I haven't heard of that," said Ryan.

Tapestry leaders say it’s cheaper to buy the more than $300,000 building and renovate it.  The Buffalo Common Council would need to 'authorize' the purchase of the city-owned building. 

"The parents are concerned that the reason they chose the school, could be eliminated, if in fact the school moves to a different location," noted Ryan.