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