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Buffalo school district seeks parent input on academic calendar

For the first time, Buffalo parents are being asked to weigh in on when they would like the school year to start.

The School Board is considering two calendar options for the 2016-17 academic year. The first option, the traditional calendar, would require teachers to report to school the day after Labor Day and have children start school Thursday, Sept. 8. There would be no midwinter break in February, and the school year would end June 22.

The second option would have teachers report Sept. 1, the Thursday before Labor Day, and have children return to school Sept. 6, the day after the holiday. A weeklong break would be scheduled for the week of Feb. 19, and the school year would end June 23.

Robocalls were made to parents encouraging them to comment on calendar options on the district website by Monday.

In other action Wednesday:

• The board passed a resolution seeking more information, and a solution, regarding children who were essentially denied acceptance to City Honors School and Olmsted School 156 because they refused to take the state standardized tests.

Parent Gretchen Cercone said that at least three additional complaints have been filed with the Office of Civil Rights over this issue, and parents are considering a class action lawsuit against the district. Superintendent Kriner Cash said his staff has been struggling to find a fair solution and that his task force will produce a recommendation.

• State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, D-Buffalo, and board member Carl P. Paladino stood with parent advocate Bryon J. McIntyre on the steps of City Hall prior to the board meeting to press for bus aides on every school bus. McIntyre, an officer with the District Parent Coordinating Council and a candidate for the School Board in the Central District, pointed to the recent incident involving sexual abuse of a 6-year-old boy on a bus that had no aide.

• Chief Financial Officer Geoffrey F. Pritchard submitted a four-year fiscal plan showing that the district is projected to face $10 million budget deficits for each of the next few years. The use of reserves could offset some of the shortfall, but the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years would still be in the red, Pritchard said.

• Members of the teacher-supported Buffalo Parent Teachers Organization raised extensive objections to Steve Perry, a charter school principal and advocate, being invited to serve as the keynote speaker of the district’s Parent Assembly on May 14-15 The event is sponsored by the district, the District Parent Coordinating Council and Say Yes Buffalo. The BPTO objected to being left out of the assembly planning.

Cash said he didn’t know Perry was the keynote speaker.

“I’m not a big fan of that educator,” he said. “I’ll see what I can do about that, at this late hour.”

email: stan@buffnews.com