SED seal


For Immediate Release October 19, 2010

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



New York State Commissioner of Education David Steiner today announced that the Buffalo City School District will receive $7.9 million for the 2010-2011 school year to help turn around its Persistently Lowest Achieving schools through the federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. These funds are part of over $308 million that was made available to New York State this spring through the United States Department of Education’s (USED) School Improvement Grant Fund under Section 1003(g) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), from money set aside in the 2009 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert M. Bennett said, "We are entering a new era of reform in which we will build upon New York’s current initiatives to intervene in low performing schools and improve student outcomes.   New federal funding allows us to work with districts to go beyond incremental improvements to create truly excellent models of education for students, particularly in those schools where students need our help the most.  The State Education Department will actively support the district’s transformation process."

In February, the Education Department identified 57 persistently lowest-achieving schools, in seven school districts across the state.  In June, these districts were invited to apply for School Improvement Grants under Section 1003(g), in order to support implementation of one of four intervention models prescribed by the USDE. To receive funding for the 2010-2011 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, by the end of the 2010-11 school year, 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 Buffalo School District has received funding in the following amounts to implement a model in these schools:

School Name Grant Award for
Dr. Martin Luther King Institute #39

$1,884,220 million


Bennett High School #200

$2,000,000 million

South Park High School #206 $2,000,000 million Transformation
International School 45 $2,000,000 million Transformation

Based on satisfactory implementation of the approved plans for these schools, the Buffalo School District is eligible to receive two additional years of School Improvement Grant funding for model implementation in these schools.

The $7,884,220 made available to the Buffalo City School District was awarded based on a comprehensive review of their School Improvement Grant application, which included implementation plans for each school identified as persistently lowest-achieving, and required districts to demonstrate evidence that they had the capacity to support implementation of the models in these schools.  Buffalo’s application can be found here:

The Buffalo City School District submitted SIG plans for an additional 3 schools but the applications for these did not meet the SIG criteria that the district demonstrate that the proposed interventions could be fully and effectively implemented in these schools during the 2010-11 school year.  Instead, these schools are eligible to receive grants of up to $300,000 in 2010-11 to create the necessary preconditions for successful adoption of an intervention strategy as well to begin implementation of selected plan components in 2010-11.  The Buffalo City School District may reapply later this year for these schools to receive a SIG grant for implementation of the full intervention strategy in these schools beginning with the 2011-12 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: July 13, 2011