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Expand Olmsted concept Creating another quality high school would be a plus for district and city

Follow-through plans by the Buffalo School District to create another top-quality high school in the city are welcome news. Good, competitive schools are needed in the quest to keep city residents, attract new Western New Yorkers and encourage a return to the city by suburban exiles.

The latest announcement is a proposal to establish an Olmsted High School next September, with the goal of making it as popular and successful as City Honors School and Hutchinson-Central Technical High School. These are lofty ambitions and, if successful, should reap tremendous rewards for both the city and county.

One key way to raise the city's stature is to bring about change and quality within traditional public schools. City Honors and Hutch-Tech could stand some more company as examples of academic excellence.

The waiting list to get into those two schools is very long, and the competition is pretty steep. School Superintendent James A. Williams wants to develop a rising tide to lift all boats. That deserves support.

The plan makes sense on many levels; among other things, it offers a good reuse for a valued high school building and location, and it is a good response to requests from parents of children in the popular Olmsted elementary schools. It met a deservedly enthusiastic reception from the School Board, which also is closing two older schools in September, along with two others being used to temporarily house students from schools now under reconstruction.

If plans go through, the new high school would be housed at the former Kensington High School, 319 Suffolk Ave. An Olmsted High School seems a good fit for that system asset.

Williams plans to expand on his plan by establishing a Montessori High School that he believes will be a further incentive for parents looking to return to the city.

Overall, the superintendent is building a compelling case for parents to take another look at urban living, even in the midst of difficult union negotiations and a lean fiscal situation. His efforts should be commended and supported.

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