Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - At Wednesday night's Buffalo School Board meeting, Carl Paladino plans to make a motion, asking the school board to send a letter to Governor Cuomo asking to allow children who were denied transfers out of failing schools to receive vouchers allowing them to attend a Charter or Catholic school.
"A voucher allows a student to take a piece of paper, which is money, and go to any school they want to go to," Paladino said. "It's time we got around to that because our urban center schools are all in dysfunction right now."
Paladino cited Louisiana as a model for a voucher program, although Louisiana's school-choice program is currently being threatened by the department of justice.
Paladino says vouchers may also help area Catholic schools, who a few weeks ago announced that the consolidation of schools will most likely happen after this school year.
"There are about 500 kids right now on the Bison Fund waiting list," said Superintendent of Schools in the Diocese of Buffalo Sister Carol Cimino. "Eighty percent of those kids are trying to get in to Catholic schools. Certainly with a voucher program they could clear that waiting list, certainly with a voucher we would love to take any kids whose needs we could meet."
However, if a school-choice program was installed in Buffalo it wouldn't necessarily mean that all Catholic schools would be saved from consolidation.
Cimino says that bussing rules would stand in the way of bringing many city kids to the suburbs. "We have five schools in the city of Buffalo, and the city of Buffalo won't bus beyond city boundaries, so we're only talking really about the city schools" Cimino said. "Certainly it would help our schools that are in the city, many of whom have small enrollments."
The Buffalo School Board meets tomorrow night at 5:30 at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.