Pinnacle Charter School hoping court order will allow on-time opening - The Buffalo News

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Pinnacle Charter School hoping court order will allow on-time opening

Supporters of Buffalo’s Pinnacle Charter School have vowed to continue fighting to keep the beleaguered school open.

Pinnacle attorneys plan to file a request for a temporary restraining order today to allow the Ash Street grade school to open for the start of school next Wednesday.

If the court grants the restraining order, students will drop off their school supplies Tuesday and start classes the next day.

“We remain hopeful we’ll be able to start school next week with no disruption for our students and their families,” Linda A. Marszalek, the school’s chief academic officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

“But we have to face the realities.” she added.

The realities include the fact that as of last Friday, the school does not have a charter and cannot open.

The enrollment for the 2013-14 school year was 554 with a waiting list, Pinnacle officials said.

Meanwhile, teachers continued their five-day orientation and preparation, which began Monday.

Parents continued to drop off completed transfer applications to city public schools that are in good standing. About 200 completed applications had been forwarded to the Buffalo Public Schools by Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

In addition, school administrators conducted a round of robo calls to parents Tuesday evening to bring them up to date about plans to go to court.

Officials from the state Education Department notified the school at 5 p.m. Friday that they would be in town early this week to meet with school administrators and begin working with city school district to develop a transfer plan for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Parents were called to an emergency meeting at the school Sunday.

The state Education Department had notified Pinnacle Friday that it was following through on plans to close the school, a day after the state Court of Appeals upheld an April 2012 vote by the state Board of Regents not to renew the school’s charter.

Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Slentz is scheduled to arrive in Buffalo today to meet with school officials, said Regent Robert M. Bennett.

The battle over Pinnacle’s future began in March 2012 when the Board of Regents decided not to renew the school’s charter for the 2012-13 school year due to a downturn in scores on state-mandated proficiency tests.

A court injunction in June 2012 kept Pinnacle open for 2012-13, but two court decisions this summer upheld the Regents’ decision.

The planned closing of Pinnacle comes at a time when the Buffalo district is dealing with 2,200 students who already requested transfers from failing schools for the coming academic year.

The district said that it can accommodate about 300 of the requests, which means the remaining families may see their children still stuck in schools the state considers substandard.

Also, the district is waiting to find out whether the state will approve the transfer plan or send it back for more revisions.


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