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For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201




Commissioner King approves funds for six Buffalo schools;
rejects funding for three schools

New York State Commissioner of Education John B. King, Jr. today announced that the Buffalo City School District will receive $9,279,358 million for the 2011-2012 school year to help turn around six Persistently Lowest Achieving schools through the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The funds are part of $308 million made available to the State from the United States Department of Education (USDE) through the School Improvement Grant Fund.

In December, the State Education Department identified 68 persistently lowest-achieving schools, in eleven school districts across the state.  Those districts were invited to apply for SIG funding to support implementation of one of four intervention models prescribed by the USDE. To receive funding for the 2011-2012 school year, districts with identified schools must implement one of the following prescribed intervention models:  
  • RESTART MODEL: Convert a school or close it and re-open it as a charter school or under an education management organization.
  • TURNAROUND MODEL: Replace the principal, screen existing school staff, and rehire no more than half the teachers; adopt a new governance structure; and improve the school through curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time, and other strategies. 
  • TRANSFORMATION MODEL: Replace the principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, extending learning time and amend any existing collective bargaining agreement as necessary to require that teachers (or building principals where applicable) assigned to these schools be evaluated in the 2011-12 school year and thereafter in accordance with recently enacted legislation pertaining to principal and teacher evaluation.
  • SCHOOL CLOSURE: Close the school and send the students to higher-achieving schools in the district.

The award to the Buffalo City School District will support a second year of intervention efforts in four schools that began implementation of the transformation model in the 2010-11 school year, along with first-year Transformation activities at Burgard High School and Riverside Institute of Technology.

The District submitted SIG plans for three other schools but the applications did not meet the SIG criteria.  The District did not apply for SIG funds for four schools identified Persistently Lowest Achieving this year:  Buffalo Elementary School of Technology #6, Futures Academy #37, Waterfront Elementary #95, and East High School.

The District will be required to submit improvement plans for these seven schools by August 31, 2011.  These plans must be consistent with the actions required within one of the four federal intervention models, which may include but are not limited to changes in staff, comprehensive professional development, and extended learning opportunities for students.

One of the schools not receiving SIG funding, Lafayette High School, has been identified as a PLA school for two consecutive years, and was also denied SIG funding last year.   If the Commissioner does not approve the plan for the school submitted by the district, the Commissioner will consider asking the Board of Regents to revoke the registration of this school.  Prior to making the recommendation to revoke registration, the Commissioner may appoint a Distinguished Educator for Lafayette High School to assist the district the restructure educational program for students and build district capacity for dramatic change in its lowest performing schools.

Summary of the Buffalo City School District award:




Cohort 2
2011-2012 SY

Burgard High School
Riverside Institute of Technology

Cohort 1
2011-2012 SY

Bennett High School

Dr. Martin Luther King Institute #39

International School #45 Transformation
South Park High School Transformation

Based on satisfactory implementation of the approved plans for these schools, districts are eligible to receive up to three years of School Improvement Grant funding for model implementation.

New York State awarded funding based on a comprehensive review of School Improvement Grant applications that required districts to demonstrate evidence that they had the capacity to support full and effective implementation of the models in these schools.  Information about School Improvement Grants can be found here:

Subject to the rules that the United States Department of Education will issue for 2012-13 SIG funds, the Buffalo City School District may be eligible to reapply later this year for a SIG grant for implementation of the full intervention strategy in these schools beginning with the 2012-13 school year.


New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York
Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: August 9, 2011