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How much does Phil Rumore make?

The Albany Times Union reported recently that the head of New York State United Teachers receives a compensation package of $345,987, including a base salary of $240,180.

Well, that got me wondering how much the president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation makes.

Rumore at City HallPhil Rumore received $98,664 from the union in 2010, according to the union's most recent tax filing. He says that's his salary, and it hasn't changed in the years that teachers have been without a new contract. His salary, he says, is calculated at 1.2 times the salary of the highest-paid teacher, under the contract.

In 2008, Rumore's compensation was listed at $113,664. The following year, it was $116,071, according to the union's tax filings. 

He says the extra money resulted from a back-pay settlement the teachers -- and, apparently, therefore also the union leadership -- received. It was about $30,000, Rumore said, and he opted to split it between the two years.

"There was a back pay settlement years ago, and teachers got an extra amount of money," he said. "We also got extra amounts of money, because what we get is what the teachers get."

No additional compensation is listed for him on the BTF's tax filings for the past few years, but Rumore said the BTF pays his health insurance and that of his two assistants, Edith Lewin and Barbara Bielecki. But we'll get back to them in a moment.

On top of Rumore's BTF salary, he also collects a state pension of about $35,000 for the 13 years he spent as a teacher. All told, then, Rumore makes about $133,664 a year, between his union salary and his teachers pension.

The union's two presidential assistants -- yes, that is their actual title -- each make $88,045 a year.

Both, like Rumore, are also retired teachers, so they collect a state pension in addition to their BTF salary.

Lewin, BTF's vice president, drew $55,289 in pension last year. That brought her salary plus pension to $143,334.

Bielecki, the union's treasurer, received $66,652 in pension last year, bringing her salary plus pension to $154,697.

As I mentioned earlier, Rumore, Lewin and Bielecki all receive health insurance through BTF. But Rumore says that is going to change next year, when all three will switch their coverage and have it provided through -- and paid for by -- the Buffalo Public Schools. As retired teachers, under their contract with the district, they are entitled to paid health insurance through the district.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

How much money did Buffalo leave on the table at two other schools?

About a year ago, when Buffalo lost one of its rounds of federal funding to turn around failing schools, the district got something of a consolation prize: $300,000 apiece in planning money for each of three schools.

We know that only $73,234 of the $300,000 was spent at Lafayette.

It's kind of a curious situation when the district is actually awarded money and then fails to use it all. What's the implication there? We certainly hear an awful lot about the district's perennial funding shortfalls. How on earth did money get left on the table?

Well, it turns out that Lafayette was not alone in not using all the money it received.

BurgardRiverside and Burgard both also -- incredibly -- ended up not spending the money they were awarded in 2010-11.

Each of those schools used some of their money to pay the salary of a new position, an assistant principal at each school who is supposed to take on some of the building management duties, to free up the principal to spend more time on instructional leadership.

Riverside and Burgard each also paid a parent coordinator out of planning grant funds.

And Riverside paid a chunk of money -- $127,324 -- to Medaille College, which has a partnership with Riverside.

By the end of the grant year (which ended in June), Riverside spent $163,834 of its $300,000.

Burgard spent a grand total of $56,827.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, here's the bottom line:

Total awarded to the three schools in 2010-11: $900,000.

Money actually spent $382,590.

Money left on the table: $517,409.

Impression left on the community: Priceless.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

Live blog of School Board meeting at 4 p.m.

Please join me for a live blog of the School Board meeting this evening.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

How many exempts will be left on Dixon's staff?

Plenty of people are wondering when Amber Dixon will start cutting exempt administrators -- and how many she will cut.

Let me tell you what I know.

You might recall that her predecessor, James Williams, more than doubled the size of the non-union central office staff during his six years in Buffalo -- from 13 to 28 exempt positions.

Dixon says she is in the process of trimming that number.

Amber Dixon2"By January, we will look different," she said. "I'm looking at under 20. But I can't promise."

Let's take a look at the numbers.

In the past few months, two exempt employees in human resources -- Faren Gault Wilson and Kara Murphy -- left the district. They will not be replaced, Dixon told me. "We used those funds to increase clerical staff in the office," she said.

So now we're down to 26 exempt positions.

And we can subtract one more, because Dixon's former position -- executive director for evaluation, accountability and project initiatives -- will be left vacant while she's interim superintendent. Per her contract, she gets to return to that job once she's done serving as interim.

Down to 25 exempts.

Earlier in the year, Alexander Collichio left the legal department, and Brendan Kelleher's last day as general counsel will be in mid-November. At one point, Dixon said she would look at whether the district needs a legal department at all -- or whether it can rely on the city's corporation counsel.

Well, she has decided to keep the legal department.

"There needs to be legal advice for the board of education and the district, in-house," she said. "Corporation counsel has their hands full with a lot of other things. I think we need a legal office. That's a decision I've come to."

So we're at 25 and holding, so far.

Folasade OladeleFormer Deputy Superintendent Folasade Oladele will be replaced by a chief academic officer. Currently, five candidates are being interviewed in a first round. Dixon says she hopes to name someone to that position in about a week.

Once that happens, she will move on to interviewing candidates for the vacant position for executive director of human resources.

Still at 25.

Dixon says she is taking steps behind the scenes to continue trimming the exempt staff.

"I'm trying to treat people respectfully -- I'm trying to look organizationally and see if there are other postings in other positions people may want to apply for," she said. "I made movement this week in several cases. Exactly what it means, I can't say yet. What I told you is that by January, we will look different. And I stand by that."

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

Is your house in the Discovery School attendance district?

There are only two schools in the Buffalo Public Schools that set aside a certain number of seats for students in a defined attendance zone: Olmsted School 64 and Discovery School 67.

(All other schools give preference to students living within 1.5 miles of the building, but there is no strictly defined list of addresses for those schools, nor is there a set number of seats set aside for students living within that proximity.)

Yesterday, we looked at the list of addresses in the Olmsted district.

Discovery School2Today's blog post is dedicated to those of you in South Buffalo.

Discovery School is the most sought-after school in that part of the city. (For this year, 301 families chose it as their first choice school in the district; only about one-fourth of them got a seat there.) The school sets aside 50 percent of its seats to students who live in its defined attendance zone.

(Necessary to note: As with Olmsted, the fact that you live within the school's district does not guarantee your child a seat in that school. It does, however, give you a better chance of getting your child into that school. If you live in the attendance zone for either school, you will be put into a lottery for open seats reserved for people in the neighborhood. But it is a smaller pool to be competing against than the entire city.)

Curiously, the district indicates as much on its student placement application, but does not seem to make information available anywhere as to which addresses are actually in Discovery's district (or Olmsted's, for that matter).

But when I asked for that information, the district provided it.

Here is a list of the addresses in the attendance zone for Discovery:

Street Type From this # To this # ZIP
Abbott Rd 731 739    Odd 14220
Abbott Rd 741 1199  Odd 14220
Abbott Rd 732 1192 Even 14220
Abbott Rd 270 730 14220
Adams St 506 602   Even 14211
Adams St 373 505 14212
Alfred D Price Ct 60 144 14204
Alsace Ave 1 149 14220
Arbor Ln 1 194 14220
Archie St 1 191 14204
Arsenal Pl 1 34 14204
Ash St 1 149 14204
Athol St 1 112 14220
Beale St 1 100 14220
Beckwith St 1 76 14212
Belvedere Rd 1 88 14220
Bennett St 100 199 14204
Beyer Rd 1 78 14210
Bissell Ave 1 86 14211
Bloomfield Ave 1 192 14220
Blossom St 1 50 14203
Britt Ave 2 82 14220
Broadway St 1 152 14203
Broadway St 153 489 14204
Broadway St 490 538 14204
Broadway St 540 698   Even 14212
Brost Dr 1 80 14220
Brown St 1 91      Odd 14211
Buffum St 1 181 14210
Buffum St 183 217   Odd 14210
Burch Ave 1 9        Odd 14210
Burch Ave 2 18     Even 14210
Camp St 1 92 14204
Carlyle Ave 1 160 14220
Castor Al 1 80 14204
Cazenovia St 121 232 14210
Cazenovia St 1 120 14220
Cedar St 1 315 14204
Cherry St 29 195    Odd 14204
Choate Ave 1 388 14220
Clinton St 2 160    Even 14203
Clinton St 498 550   Even 14204
Clinton St 162 408   Even 14204
Clinton St 275 403    Odd 14204
Clio Ave 1 68 14220
Columbus Ave 1 274 14220
Como Ave 1 211 14220
Coolidge Rd 1 151 14220
Cumberland Ave 186 458 14220
Cushing Pl 1 176 14220
Cypress St 1 65 14204
Davis St 1 78 14204
Densmore Ave 1 176 14220
Dismonda St 1 51 14210
Dorrance Ave 402 594   Even 14218
Dorrance Ave 242 400   Even 14220
Downing St 245 616 14220
Duerstein St 1 120 14210
Dundee St 1 172 14220
Eaglewood Ave 1 111 14220
Eden St 253 445 14220
Edgewood Ave 1 150 14220
Edson St 1 87       Odd 14210
Edson St 2 84     Even 14210
Ellicott St 241 416 14203
Elm St 182 340 14203
Eureka St 1 81 14204
Fairview Pl 1 39 14210
Fields Ave 1 63      Odd 14210
Fields Ave 58 126   Even 14210
Fields Ave 65 123    Odd 14210
Frank Ave 59 121    Odd 14210
Galloway St 1 56 14210
Genesee St 1 229    Odd 14203
Genesee St 231 463    Odd 14204
Genesee St 302 466   Even 14204
Genesee St 465 607    Odd 14204
George St 1 56 14204
Gittere St 92 147 14211
Glendhu Pl 1 46 14210
Goodyear Ave 251 364 14211
Grey St 1 120 14212
Hancock Ave 1 396 14220
Hansen Ave 1 94 14220
Hersee Al 1 40 14203
Hickory St 226 526   Even 14204
Hickory St 227 567    Odd 14204
Highview Ter 1 88 14220
Hillside Ave 1 70 14210
Hollister St 1 43 14204
Hollywood Ave 1 195 14220
Howlett St 1 84 14211
Hubbell Ave 1 164 14220
Huron East St 1 86 14203
Indian Church Rd 1 178 14210
Indian Orchard Pl 1 34 14210
Iroquois Ave 1 128 14204
Ithaca St 1 115 14220
Jefferson Ave 742 780   Even 14204
Jefferson Ave 470 524   Even 14204
Jefferson Ave 368 468   Even 14204
Jefferson Ave 242 268   Even 14204
Jefferson Ave 526 740 14204
Jefferson Ave 324 366   Even 14204
Johnson St 2 124   Even 14212
Junior Ave 1 70 14210
Kamper St 1 186 14210
Kane St 1 90 14204
Kenefick Ave 1 186 14220
Kimberly Ave 1 194 14220
Kingston Pl 1 118 14210
Koons Ave 252 358   Even 14211
Lakewood Ave 1 121    Odd 14220
Lawn Ave 456 536 14207
Lawn Ave 537 607    Odd 14207
Legion North Dr 445 581 14210
Legion South Dr 262 571 14220
Lorraine Ave 1 150 14220
Madison St 471 553 14211
Madison St 336 470 14212
Magnolia Ave 1 68 14220
Main St 417 539    Odd 14203
Mark St 1 23 14204
Matthews St 1 62 14204
Maywood Pl 1 72 14210
Mc Clellan Cir 1 89 14220
Mc Kibbin St 1 73      Odd 14211
Mc Kinley Pky 422 786 14220
Mc Kinley Pky 402 420   Even 14220
Mc Kinley Pky 1 421    Odd 14220
Mc Kinley Cir 1 35 14220
McClellan Ci 1 89 14220
Melrose St 1 130 14220
Mercy St 1 20 14220
Meriden St 1 118 14220
Mesmer Ave 1 67 14220
Michigan Ave 440 686   Even 14203
Michigan Ave 439 691    Odd 14203
Milford St 1 130 14220
Miller Ave 231 289 14211
Milnor St 1 60 14204
Minnetonka Rd 7 77 14220
Mohawk East St 1 62 14203
Monroe St 481 561 14211
Monroe St 346 480 14212
Monroe St 198 280 14206
Morgan Rd 33 69 14220
Mortimer St 102 364   Even 14204
Mortimer St 1 100 14204
Mortimer St 101 365    Odd 14204
Moselle St 1 89      Odd 14211
Mount Vernon Ave 1 67       Odd 14210
Mount Vernon Ave 2 78     Even 14210
Narragansett Rd 1 117 14220
Nash St 1 76 14204
Newman Pl 1 128 14210
Niantic St 1 88 14220
Norman St 1 183 14210
Oak St 143 309 14203
Oakhurst Ave 1 104 14220
Oberlin Ave 118 142 14211
Olcott St 1 113 14220
Onondaga Ave 4 216   Even 14220
Oschawa Ave 1 23      Odd 14210
Oschawa Ave 2 26     Even 14210
Parkview Ave 1 186 14210
Peckham West St 1 73 14204
Peconic St 1 99      Odd 14220
Peconic St 2 98     Even 14220
Peremont Pl 1 100 14210
Pine St 84 399 14204
Pine North St 1 354 14204
Portland St 1 126 14220
Potters Rd 1 77 14220
Potters Rd 78 351 14220
Pratt St 1 452 14204
Princeton Pl 1 118 14210
Pritchard Ave 2 58     Even 14210
Ramona Ave 1 171 14220
Red Jacket Pky 1 140 14220
Rey St 1 46 14204
Richfield Ave 1 164 14220
Ruhland Ave 101 144 14211
Rutland St 1 130 14220
Salem St 1 118 14220
Seneca St 2075 2463 14210
Seneca Parkside   1 58 14210
Sheffield Ave 102 234   Even 14220
Shenandoah Rd 1 195 14220
Silverdale Pl 1 42 14210
South Park Ave 1814 2020 Even 14220
Southside Pky 1 149    Odd 14220
Spring St 171 660 14204
Spring St 171 660 14204
Spruce St 1 166 14204
St Johns Parkside   1 106 14210
St Martins Pl 1 36 14220
Stevenson St 1 91      Odd 14220
Strathmore Ave 1 122 14220
Susan Ln 1 133 14220
Sycamore St 1 82 14203
Sycamore St 374 455 14204
Sycamore St 1168 1462  Even 14211
Sycamore St 83 373 14204
Tamarack St 1 112 14220
Teresa Pl 1 48 14210
Tifft St 932 2001 14220
Turner Ave 1 132 14220
Tuscarora Rd 1 280 14220
Walden St 179 399    Odd 14211
Walden St 322 400   Even 14211
Walnut St 1 404 14204
Ward Ct 1 76 14220
Washington St 412 537 14203
Weyand St 1 175    Odd 14210
Whitehall Ave 1 210 14220
Whitfield Ave 2 88     Even 14220
Whitfield Ave 90 369 14220
Wildwood Pl 1 51      Odd 14210
Wildwood Pl 2 60     Even 14210
Willert Park Ct 46 199 14204
William St 1 99      Odd 14203
William St 2 100   Even 14203
William St 101 463    Odd 14204
William St 102 468   Even 14204
Willink St 1 18 14210
Woodside Ave 231 492 14220
Yale Pl 1 79      Odd 14210
Zittel St 1 185 14210

 

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

Is your house actually in the Olmsted district?

This is the blog post no real estate agent wants you to read.

As public elementary schools in Buffalo go, Olmsted School 64 is the most sought after. Its scores are consistently at the top of the pack, and here's a major reason why: 65 percent of the seats go to kids who test into the city's gifted program.

The other 35 percent of Olmsted's seats go to kids who live "in the district."

Olmsted SchoolTranslation: Although Buffalo moved away from neighborhood attendance zones nearly a decade ago, a certain number of seats in that one particular school are still reserved for kids who live in Olmsted's old attendance zone. (Well, there's one other school that also still has an attendance zone, but we'll get to that in a minute.)

Where, exactly, is Olmsted's attendance zone?

Well, good luck finding out.

It's the best-kept secret in town.

There's no list of addresses posted anywhere on the district's website.

And the information isn't exactly easy to get even if you hoof it down to the student registration office on Ash Street. A parent I know recently went to that office to find out whether her house is in the Olmsted district. She asked for a list of addresses in the school's district. The person behind the counter told her there is no Olmsted district.

This parent pressed on. Yes, there is, she told the school district employee who gets paid to provide information to the public. No -- the district stopped using neighborhood zones years ago, the employee told her, and there is no attendance zone for Olmsted.

Yikes.

Holy nightmare on Ash Street. It's bad news when the people working in the registration office either don't have the right information or for some reason aren't giving it out.

Parents at the school itself apparently couldn't even get the actual list of addresses in the Olmsted district. One publication produced by Olmsted's parent group provides a list of addresses in the district, but it includes a disclaimer that basically says the list is their best guess, and is the result of informal information-gathering among parents.

Realtors in town have been making the most of this information void for years.

I can't tell you how many parents I've met who, when they bought their house (generally on the West Side/Elmwood Village) were told it was in the Olmsted district. And, since there's been basically no way to check that info, they didn't find out that wasn't true until it came time to enroll their child in school.

Well, I recently asked the administration for a list of the addresses in the Olmsted district (and the Discovery School district -- half the kids there are drawn from its old attendance zone). And I got it.

So here it is. (I will post the addresses for Discovery School as soon as possible -- I need to clarify some of that information with the district first.)

The following streets/addresses are in the Olmsted School 64 district (keep in mind, though, that living in the district does not guarantee you a seat in the school -- you still get put into a lottery, but it's only open to those who live in the district):

Street Type Addresses on the left Addresses on the right ZIP
Amherst St 701 1450 14216
Amherst East St 581 794 14207
Argyle Park 1 99 14222
Ashland Ave 546 899 14222
Ashland Ave 407 545 14222
Ashland Ave 721 899 14222
Auburn Ave 501 899 14222
Auburn Ave 487 500 14213
Beaumaris Pl 1 64 14207
Bedford Ave 1 368 14216
Berkley Pl 1 99 14209
Bidwell Pky 1 299 14222
Bird Ave 701 899 14209
Brantford Pl 1 99 14222
Breckenridge St 541 684 14222
Breckenridge St 505 540 14213
Brittany La 1 100 14222
Chapedel St 1 100 14209
Chapin Pky 1 199 14209
Chatham Ave 1 163 14216
Claremont Ave 1 199 14222
Clarendon Pl 1 99 14209
Cleveburn Pl 1 99 14222
Cleveland Ave 1 249 14222
Colonial Cir 3 33      Odd 14222
Colvin Ave 1 125 14216
Crescent Ave 627 803 14216
Dana Rd 1 114 14216
Delavan West Ave 471 500 14213
Delavan West Ave 501 800 14222
Delavan West Ave 801 999 14209
Delaware Ave 1702 1754 Even 14216
Delaware Ave 1701 1755 Odd 14216
Delaware Ave 1756 2200 14216
Delaware Ave 1337 1699 Odd 14209
Delaware Ave 1080 1700 Even 14209
Delham Ave 1 109 14216
Dorchester Rd 1 75 14222
Dutton Ave 1 69 14211
Edgepark Ave 7 105 14216
Elmhurst Pl 1 155 14216
Elmview Pl 5 60 14207
Elmwood Ave 1401 1451 14207
Elmwood Ave 1376 1400 14216
Elmwood Ave 593 1375 14222
Elmwood Ave 1452 1668 Even 14207
Ferry West St 510 847 14222
Fordham Dr 1 166 14216
Forest Ave 486 700 14222
Forest Ave 701 899 14209
Gates Cir 1 77 14209
Gill Al 1 66 14222
Granger Pl 1 99 14222
Great Arrow Ave 146 271 14207
Great Arrow Ave 40 145 14216
Gren-Way Al 1 35 14222
Grote St 281 344 14207
Hallam Rd 14 114 14216
Harvard Pl 101 199 14209
Highland Ave 181 335 14222
Highland Ave 1 180 14222
Horton Pl 1 99 14209
Inwood Pl 1 121 14209
Lafayette Ave 471 800 14222
Lafayette Ave 421 470 14213
Lafayette Ave 802 1066 Even 14209
Lancaster Ave 1 249 14222
Lexington Ave 1 325    Odd 14222
Lincoln Pky 1 200 14222
Lincoln Pky 241 455 14216
Lincoln Pky 201 240 14216
Lincoln Woods Ln 1 49 14222
Linwood Ave 651 799 14209
Linwood Ter 1 49 14209
Main St 1854 1982 Even 14208
Main St 1772 1852 Even 14208
Meadow Rd 1 146 14216
Melbourne Pl 1 99 14222
Middlebury Ln 1 76 14216
Middlesex Rd 1 356 14216
New Amsterdam Ave 1 170 14216
Norwood Ave 301 566 14222
Nottingham Ter 1 350 14216
Oxford Ave 189 260 14209
Parkside Ave 382 500   Even 14216
Penhurst Pl 1 99 14222
Penhurst Park 1 199 14222
Potomac Ave 467 500 14213
Potomac Ave 501 750 14222
Potomac Ave 751 899 14209
Queen Anns Gate   1 49 14222
Rand Ave 1 110 14216
Randwood Ln 1 36 14216
Richmond Ave 759 911    Odd 14222
Richmond Ave 392 624 14222
Richmond Ave 625 757    Odd 14222
Rumsey Ln 1 49 14209
Rumsey Rd 1 299 14209
Saybrook Pl 1 86 14209
Soldiers Pl 2 206   Even 14222
St Catherines Ct 1 111 14222
St James Pl 1 249 14222
Tillinghast Pl 1 152 14216
Tudor Pl 1 99 14222
Windsor Ave 1 225 14209
Woodette Pl 5 60 14207

 

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

How hard is it to get into the Buffalo school you want?

The School Board is starting to consider whether to revamp Buffalo's school choice model in favor of some version of neighborhood schools.

It's a concept that has been floating around for some time, but only now seems about to become the subject of a full discussion at the board level.

Right now, families generally get to choose what school they want their child to attend. When you register your child for the Buffalo Public Schools, you can list up to five choices of schools, in order of preference. And then the district runs a computerized lottery to assign the available seats.

Olmsted 64Those with a sibling already in a school get first shot at the open seats in a school. Next, people who live within 1.5 miles of a school get preference at the remaining seats. (Note: there are not neighborhood schools per se at this point, but that "proximity preference" does exist.) After that, the remaining seats are assigned through a general lottery.

(There are a few schools, such as City Honors and Olmsted, that require some sort of special testing for admission. The admission process for those schools is different from the general lottery process.)

When all is said and done, 54 percent of students got a seat at their No. 1 choice for 2010-11, according to Jackie Ross-Brown, who oversees student placement. Another 20 percent get their second choice.

Here's a breakout of what percentage of applicants get a seat at their preferred school for this year. As you peruse the numbers, keep in mind that these figures are for each school as a whole. It might be easier to get a seat in one grade or another at a given school, depending on the number of available seats and the number of applicants at each grade.

As you'll see, the school that the fewest (percentage-wise) students got as their first choice was Olmsted 64, where only 16 percent did. Next: Discovery School in South Buffalo, where 26 percent of students got a seat there as their first choice, followed by a tie at 27 percent of Middle Early College and City Honors.

At Emerson, 30 percent of students who applied there as their first choice got a seat. At School 81, 34 percent; and da Vinci and Bennett Park Montessori, 35 percent.

School number School

First-round
applicants

Students getting school as their first choice Percent getting first choice
3 D'Youville Porter 272 101 37%
6 BEST 98 73 74%
17 Early Childhd Ctr 17 89 71 80%
18 Pantoja 120 98 82%
19 Native Am Magnet 179 119 66%
27 Hillery Park 136 103 76%
30 Frank Sedita 152 122 80%
31 Harriett Ross Tubman 87 71 82%
32 Bennett Park 522 184 35%
33 Bilingual Center 33 94 65 69%
37 Futures Academy 106 86 81%
39 MLK 142 120 85%
43 Lovejoy Discovery 134 101 75%
45 Intl School 45 300 199 66%
53 Community Schl 53 75 62 83%
54 Blackman 119 69 58%
56 Olmsted 56 78 39 50%
59 Drew Science Magnet 69 37 54%
61 Early Childhd Ctr 61 60 50 83%
64 Olmsted 64 662 109 16%
65 Roosevelt 107 82 77%
66 North Park Middle 74 46 62%
67 Discovery 301 79 26%
69 Houghton 140 93 66%
72 Lorraine 112 65 58%
74 Hamlin Park 94 66 70%
76 Badillo 188 138 73%
79 Grabiarz 447 332 74%
80 Highgate Heights 175 86 49%
81 School 81 211 71 34%
82 Early Childhd Ctr 82 112 101 90%
89 Wright 245 110 45%
90 Drew ECC 90 99 86 87%
91 BUILD 121 67 55%
93 Southside 222 129 58%
94 West Hertel 252 126 50%
95 Waterfront 158 106 67%
97 Austin 83 74 89%
99 Makowski 235 133 57%
131 Academy 11 11 100%
156 Olmsted 56 4 4 100%
187 Performing Arts 247 124 50%
195 City Honors 485 130 27%
197 MST Prep 198 116 59%
198 International Prep 222 134 60%
200 Bennett 77 48 62%
204 Lafayette 131 104 79%
205 Riverside 140 118 84%
206 South Park 178 138 78%
212 da Vinci 345 120 35%
301 Burgard 129 98 76%
302 Emerson 190 57 30%
304 Hutch Tech 590 281 48%
305 McKinley 384 174 45%
307 East 86 56 65%
415 Middle Early College 260 69 27%

 

Stay tuned for more info here on the district's enrollment and selection process over the coming weeks and months.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

Commissioner to Buffalo: "It's not rocket science"

It's safe to say State Education Commissioner John King is not terribly impressed with the Buffalo Public Schools' track record.

As today's story notes, he decried the number of failing schools here and implored the community to emerge from its passivity to demand better outcomes for students.

Buffalo is hardly a lost cause, King said. There are reasons to hope, he said:

John KingBuffalo has a lot of seeds of potential improvement. Clearly there is a philanthropic and business community that is dedicated to the success of the schools. And over the last two years, there's a degree of parent activism that has emerged, a community of parents that desperately want to see student performance improve.

On the other hand, I think it was clear from the poor quality of the school improvement grant plans that were submitted that there are some real challenges -- the knowledge and skills necessary -- at the central office level as well as at the school level.

I have to say, while resources are clearly a challenge for the community as a whole, the school system has a fair amount of resources to put towards these challenges. Now, how these resources are allocated is a real challenge. It was clear last year that some of the inability of the board, the superintendent and labor leadership to come to agreement on the best way to leverage existing resources to drive student achievement -- that was a huge problem, that inability to come to agreement.

Urban education is not an easy business. It comes with plenty of challenges. But King made it clear that that does not excuse Buffalo (or any city) from its responsibility to produce results:

"This isn't rocket science. There are best practices. And the charge of the district, in my perspective, is to go learn those best practices."

Which places are doing a good job?

As one example, King highlighted Charlotte-Mecklenburg in North Carolina, a district that was just recognized by the Broad Foundation. "They made it an honor within the district to get assigned to the lowest-performing schools," he said.

In Charlotte, the achievement gap between black and white students decreased 11 points from 2007 to 2010 for high school reading.

From a recent story about Charlotte schools:

"We give them freedom and flexibility, with accountability," Clark (the chief academic officer) says of the selective staffing initiative. Principals are given the freedom to revamp schools as they see fit, as long as their students perform. Kales did away with the idea that each teacher had a set class. 

Using internal assessments and teacher input, students are reassigned to different classes depending on their performance level. A student might be in a fifth grade reading class but a fourth grade math class, for example. Classes are rearranged dynamically throughout the year as students progress or need extra help. 

Students get the opportunity to work with many different teachers and find a fit that is best for them, Kales (a principal) says. 

"You get kids who are able to articulate where they learn best and how they learn best," she says. "They don't have a concept of what grade they're in." Many of her students progress more than one grade level per year under the model.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

Live blog of School Board meeting at 5 p.m.: search update and more

Please join me for a live blog of School Board committee meetings, with topics to include an update on the superintendent search.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

How charter-heavy is Buffalo, compared to other cities?

Sometimes it seems like we hear an awful lot about all those charter schools in New York City.

Remember those scenes from "Waiting for Superman"? Recall all the media references to Geoffrey Canada and Eva Moskowitz? The Big Apple must be overflowing with charter schools, right?

Well, not exactly.

Charter schoolNew York City's charter schools serve 38,743 students -- more than all the students in the Buffalo Public Schools.

That may seem like a lot, but put that in context. New York City also enrolls 973,210 students in its traditional public schools. That means 4 percent of the kids there are enrolled in charter schools, according to a report issued this week by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Compare that to Buffalo, where 18 percent of kids are enrolled in charter schools. That's right -- if you do a fair comparison, more than four times as many students enroll in charter schools in Buffalo, compared to New York City.

Here, 6,986 children attend charter schools, compared to 31,590 in the Buffalo Public Schools, according to the report. (Buffalo ranks 15th nationally, tied with five other cities, including Tucson and Minneapolis.)

Albany, by the way, enrolls 23 percent of its students in charter schools -- the highest percentage of any city in the state.

Nationally, the city with the highest charter enrollment is New Orleans, where 70 percent of students attend charter schools.

No. 2 is Washington, D.C., at 39 percent, followed by Detroit, at 37 percent, and Kansas City, MO, at 35 percent.

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | [email protected]


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | [email protected]


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | [email protected]


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | [email protected]

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