Mayor Brown, Increase Aid to Buffalo Schools!
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Dear Honorable Mayor Byron W. Brown and Honorable Members of the Common Council:
When the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization organized in the Fall of 2013, we set out to highlight the positives in Buffalo Public Schools. To be frank, it was a struggle to fulfill this objective.
Today, under the leadership of Superintendent, Dr. Kriner Cash and his team, we now struggle to keep up with shining a light on all of the positive opportunities, experiences, and outcomes, unfolding on a daily basis across the city. Dr. Cash’s New Education Bargain with Students and Parents has guided the establishment of 13 Community Schools, 4 Parent Centers, smaller class sizes in the early grades, new and meaningful partnerships with various stakeholders, enhanced services for our neediest families and students, 6 new high school programs, and enriched after school and summer school programming.
Hosting our monthly meetings at East High on Saturday mornings, we recall times of an empty and quiet building, sometimes locked when we arrived. Today, we enter an open and energized building, with welcoming staff, a parent center providing support to families, and a variety of enrichment activities for adults and children. There is now a true sense of community felt in this building and in many others across the city. We must not go back. We must capitalize on this momentum for all of our students and families.
Dr. Cash and the Board of Education submitted a request for an increase in the City’s annual allocation to Buffalo Public Schools. The BPTO fully endorses this request, in order to continue and build on the necessary work under Dr. Cash’s New Education Bargain. Mayor Brown recently promised to provide an increase of $500,000. We are asking that this increase be raised to $1 million, each year, for the next four years.
In addition to continuing and building on Dr. Cash’s Education Bargain, resources and staff, as a whole, remain inadequate in Buffalo Public Schools, especially in comparison to neighboring suburban school districts. Staffing for art, music, health, librarians, and counselors are more than double in suburban districts. Our Buffalo Public School students deserve better.
It’s been 12 years since the City has increased aid to Buffalo Public Schools. Of the 5 big city school districts, the city of Buffalo contributes the lowest percentage to its school district. For example, in 2015-16 the city of Buffalo provided 5.6% or $55,172,758, while the city of Rochester provided 13% or $106,993,215. Furthermore, the state has determined that 90% of BPS students exhibit extraordinary needs, the highest of the Big 5 City School Districts.
After 12 years, it’s more than time for the City of Buffalo to increase aid to Buffalo Public Schools. Our state delegation have been doing their part to increase funding, it’s now time for the City to do theirs.
Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization
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