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>Coalition urges increase in cap on charter schools

The Western New York Charter School Coalition on Monday urged the State Legislature to increase the cap on charter school licenses.

At a news conference outside Tapestry Charter School, North and Franklin streets, the group voiced its support of Gov. George E. Pataki's proposal to raise the cap to 250, from its present level of 100. The cap has nearly been reached, meaning that the creation of new charter schools is in jeopardy.

"Charter schools have fulfilled their promise to children -- to improve academic outcomes and provide them with additional choice within the public school system," said Gary Stillman, chief executive officer of the Niagara Charter School. "A reform this successful requires we have more charter schools so more children can benefit."

The charter school cap is part of the ongoing state budget deliberations in Albany.

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>Independent Health, Lifetime Health link up

People with insurance through Independent Health will soon be able to use the Lifetime Health Medical Group medical centers in Buffalo and Rochester, officials announced.

The agreement will expand Independent Health's physician network to include the doctors who work at Lifetime's centers. The change will take effect when the Lifetime physicians are credentialed to provide care to Independent Health members, a process to be completed over the next several weeks.

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