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Education commissioner does some straight talking

Sometimes, as a reporter, you just can't write fast enough. That was the case when State Education Commissioner John King called regarding his letter to the district. The letter demands the district partner with Erie 1 BOCES to provide educational services to high school students at Lafayette and East high schools.

At times clearly exasperated, King used words like "terrible" and "abysmal" to describe the achievement levels at both schools, despite what district and school leaders have described as sincere efforts to improve.

The newly seated school board will be required to convene a special meeting in a few weeks to approve a plan by Aug. 12 to submit to the state.

When King followed up with me late in the day to discuss the story again, he said there's absolutely no way the district will be able to get out of partnering with BOCES in some form. If Lafayette and East want to continue to make use of Johns Hopkins' services, he added, they are certainly encouraged to do so, but they won't be given federal grant money to assist them.

Superintendent Pamela Brown said she's concerned about where the district will get the money to comply with the state demands since the district is ineligible for any state reimbursement or grants to pay the BOCES tuition for students. King responded that "there's clearly a lot of money" if the district restructures its spending priorities.

Here's the copy of King's letter to Brown:

 

NY education commissioner's letter regarding Lafayette and East high schools

 

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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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