Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Buffalo School Board members held a special board meeting Thursday evening to discuss how to turn two high schools around. The state has made an ultimatum on East and Lafayette High Schools: perform better or be shut down.
An additional meeting was held behind closed doors with representatives from the State Education Department that began in the morning, and while it was expected to last until noon, both sides remained in the meeting until much later, and were joined by teachers and principals from Lafayette and East High School.
Patrick Foster is a History teacher at Lafayette High School, he came to the meeting hoping to explain to state officials the reasons behind the school's poor numbers. "Lafayette's a special and unique case since because 2007 we've gone from an English learner population of less than 10 percent to greater than 60 percent now," says Foster.
Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore says the teachers' voices need to be heard by the state. "These are the people who know what's going on in the schools. These are the teachers who have working on turning things around. They have been going to in-services, they've been working closely with Johns Hopkins to turn things around," says Rumore.
Education Commissioner John King has mandated students at the two schools be permitted to go to BOCES schools, and it appears that the Buffalo School Board has accepted that. However, both board members and teachers expressed their desire to continue to work with Johns Hopkins University on a similar program that has been in place at the schools for the past year.
Special public forums will be held on July 22nd and 24th at Lafayette and East High Schools (exact location of each meeting is still to be determined). That will be followed by a special board meeting on July 31st, where the board will attempt to finalize a plan for the two schools that they can send to the Education Commissioner.