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The Buffalo school district's failure to involve parents yields more consequences

For some, the slim likelihood that the Buffalo school district will truly lose out on $36 million in grant funding for failing gain parent buy-in on its school improvement plans and grant applications isn't the point. It's the fact that State Ed has to threaten the loss of so much money to force the district to speak meaningfully with its designated parent organization.

The threat by the state highlights long-standing tensions between the school district and the District Parent Coordinating Council led by President Sam Radford. The DPCC is the officially recognized parent organization tapped with overseeing district compliance with many state and federal education laws.

Back in September, the state asked the district to either:

1.) Prove that it engaged in "meaningful consultation" with the parent group in the development of its federal grant application and school improvement plans, or,

2.) Go ahead and take several more weeks to meet with the parent group, get their feedback, then resubmit the necessary documents by Oct. 22.

Guess what road the district took?

"Somebody spent time putting together an 800-page reply when they could have spent that time consulting and collaborating with us," Radford said.

 Below is the letter from Roberto Reyes to Supt. Brown. The letter does not refer specificially the withholding of $36 million, but that's the federal money at stake: $26.1 million in Title I, nearly $4.6 million in Title II, $651,000 in Title III, $261,000 in Parent Engagement funds, and $4.7 million in school improvement grants. You can see the breakdown on the fourth page of the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan for 2013-14.

-- Sandra Tan

State Ed letter to Supt. Brown withholding grants for lack of parent involvement by Sandra Tan

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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 | djgee@buffnews.com


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 | tlankes@buffnews.com


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 | stan@buffnews.com


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 | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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