The fate of two charter schools in Buffalo in part lies in the hands of the Buffalo Board of Education.
Buffalo Board of Education member Paulette Woods said, "We can not allow a charter school or any school to be performing worse than the Buffalo schools. If anything, if they're going to exist, we need charter schools to excel."
What You Need To Know
- The Buffalo Board of Education had a meeting Wednesday to discuss the future of Enterprise Charter School and Westminster Community Charter School
- District leaders are concerned about proficiency at both schools
- They're expected to vote on the charter renewal soon
That message is echoed by other Buffalo Board of Education members and district administrators as they held a special meeting Wednesday to decide the future of the Enterprise Charter School and Westminster Community Charter School, both of which are chartered by the district.
BoE President Sharon Belton-Cottman said, "We have two schools that have been identified by the state with major problems as far as proficiency is concerned."
Both schools have met at least half of the performance benchmarks that help frame charter school performance, but proficiency in certain subjects appears to be a major concern.
Lorenda Chisolm, the district's school review director, said, "In math, Westminster has fallen below across the sub groups since 2014, below the state and in comparison to the district, it's fluctuated. In ELA, they continue to trail New York state, and again, for the last couple of years they've fallen behind, slightly behind city schools. For math, the district has outperformed all student groups in comparison to Enterprise. Since 2015, Enterprise has not outperformed the district. And it looks like since 2017 for both multi-lingual and economically disadvantaged students, they have not outperformed the district in math."
Now the district is trying to figure out if these schools can show improvement in the future and where they go from here. District leaders have to make a recommendation to the State Board of Regents on what type of charter renewal should be granted to the schools. They can also decide against renewing the charter, which would close the schools down, a decision they say the Board of Regents would not have a say in.
"When I'm hearing that we're going to potentially give them some more time, provide more staff, more money, more resources, potentially looking at an independent monitor coming in. That's going to cost money. I need to be convinced that maintaining their charter and doing that is financially and educationally best," said Buffalo Board of Education Member-At-Large Larry Scott.
The district could vote on the renewal recommendation sometime within the next week.