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City Hallways (April 7) Wingo started with his apology

An apology

The Council Education Committee's formal meeting was canceled Thursday for lack of a quorum, but Masten Councilman Ulysees Wingo, the committee chairman, showed up anyway, as did some 20 other people.

Wingo called it a community meeting, giving people a chance to talk about school issues, including City Honors' admission policies - even though the committee, with just Wingo and Niagara District Councilman David Rivera present, couldn't take any official action.

Sitting in the front of the Council Chambers, Wingo started the meeting by reading a written apology for comments he made earlier in the week viewed as insulting to Catholic school families.

"I am Godly sorry," Wingo  said. "To be Godly sorry is to be repentant."

When Wingo finished his statement, people in the audience applauded.

Among those in the audience was Wingo's wife, who is a teacher in the Buffalo public schools.

The meeting then continued, with speakers offering their views on the City Honors admission policies.

Protecting vs. challenging the status quo

The challenges involved in addressing racial disparities at City Honors -- where 17 percent of students are African-American in a district that is 50 percent black - were evident at the meeting.

One parent questioned the fairness of the district giving public school students any preference over private, parochial or charter school children whose parents also live and pay taxes in Buffalo.

Another parent questioned the fairness of a school system with under-performing elementary schools. Even the brightest of children who attend these under-performing schools will be at a disadvantage by fourth grade when applying to City Honors, and competing with students who attended high-performing schools, the parent said.

Today's calendar items

Mayor Brown joining other elected officials this afternoon to welcome Dana White and the UFC to Buffalo.

The City Hall dome will be lit up red, white and blue tonight in honor of the Buffalo Bisons opening day weekend.

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