The state Board of Regents denied the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School’s renewal application. The head of the school is now speaking out, saying this could harm their students and he urges the board members to rethink their decision.

On Monday, the board voted against a full-term, five-year renewal for the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School.

The school applied for the renewal of the 2021-2025 school terms in August 2019.

“It’s a totally unreasonable, unrealistic and irrational decision," said Joseph Polat, the school's executive director.

One of the issues regents members brought up was funding and how the renewal could affect public schools.

“Taking away money during this time from the public schools can be catastrophic, it is already catastrophic in some areas," said Kathleen Cashin, the 2nd Judicial District member for the regents board.

“I do not want in five years to be a regent who caused the implosion of a school district,” said Catherine Collins, the 8th Judicial District member, which covers Erie County. 

Polat believes this is all politically motivated.

“I don’t believe that the Buffalo Public Schools needs money, that’s for sure,” he said.

The school currently has students in kindergarten through second-grade and fifth-graders through 12th-graders. Their renewal application included an expansion to include third- and fourth-graders, but education leaders say right now is not the time to look into that.

“In another year, without a pandemic or whatever, you can convince me but right now I really believe the Buffalo Public Schools need our support as a primary issue and that the charter schools need to take a second seat," said Susan Mittler, the 6th Judicial District member.

Polat plans to push the state Board of Regents to have a special meeting to revisit the decision. He says he doesn't want parents and students to worry because they plan to fight.

“This was a clear mistake, no one wants to take one of the best educational opportunities away from the children, especially the children who live in poverty,” he said.

Polat also said, "We will go to the court to appeal and this will give us one more year. But if the court upheld their decision, the school will be closed at the end of the next year."