Buffalo, NY (WBEN) -- Calling the situation a "disaster," the state is directing Buffalo to send students from two persistently failing high schools -- Lafayette and East -- to BOCES, or let BOCES run the two schools.
State education commissioner John King Junior issued a blistering letter to the district, according to the Buffalo News. The letter suggested "Buffalo may simply be incapable of running a quality program in these buildings."
The state is directing Buffalo to either send students to BOCES, or bring in BOCES as the lead administrators at the two schools.
Failing that, he threatens to revoke the registration for the two schools, effectively shutting their doors.
King also alludes to the district not having enough space at qualifying schools for all its students, due to the sheer number of failing schools. That leads to the rescue plan involving BOCES, which never previously worked with city students.
He acknowledges that the move is "unprecedented" but notes that the district failed to implement turnaround plans three times at Lafayette and twice at East.
The original turnaround model was to install a unit created by Johns Hopkins University as the lead administrator at both schools. King's letter faults the district for failing to make conditions possible for JHU to step in.
BOCES districts -- or, Boards Of Cooperative Education Services -- were made possible by New York state law passed in 1948. The original intention was to allow neighboring school districts to pool resources to share programs which otherwise would be too costly.
Up to this point, BOCES programs have not been allowed in the state's so-called Big Five districts, including Buffalo.