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Plans for new charter in 2016-17 are outlined at hearing hosted by Buffalo Public Schools

The Buffalo Public Schools hosted a public hearing Wednesday evening on plans to open a new charter school in the 2016-17 academic year.

And if Michael A. Badger Sr. has his way, his proposed ACE Charter School – which stands for architecture, construction and engineering – would be located in the East High School building. But there will have to be more discussion on that.

Badger, who is a bishop of Bethesda World Harvest International Church on Main Street, and a core group of founders submitted a request to open ACE with seventh through 12th grades. The location has not yet been determined, but various vacant lots in the area could be suitable, although not Badger’s preference.

“I would love to be at East High School if it’s available,” Badger said.

East is an “out of time” school that is being phased out.

ACE’s mission is to create a learning environment for underserved youth in Buffalo that combines character development, practical work experience and hands-on curriculum that would prepare them for college and careers in the architecture, construction and engineering fields.

In the first year, the school would open with 80 seventh-graders and 80 ninth-graders and then add grades and students each year for a total of 600 students in five years. Then, at charter renewal, fifth and sixth grades would be added, Badger said.

Currently, 200 parents have signed on to say they would like to send their children the new school, Badger said.

Bethesda World Harvest’s community-development corporation is the applicant, but when the charter school gets it charter, the school’s board of trustees will apply for non-profit status, Badger said.

Following the public hearing, the Educational Support Services Committee convened.

Will Keresztes, assistant superintendent for student support services, gave an update on upcoming admissions testing for City Honors School and Frederick Law Olmsted School, which will be administered to fifth- and ninth-graders entering for the 2016-17 academic year.

For the first time, in addition to Saturday testing, students will be able to take the admissions test in their home schools during the regular school day, but if parents prefer, they may still choose to attend a Saturday session with their child. The point is to remove any barriers that a student faces because of traditional Saturday testing at City Honors and Olmsted, Keresztes said.

Four teams will be responsible for the entire testing process at about 10 or 11 schools each, Keresztes said.

Testing occurs in October and November, and scoring happens in November and December, he added.

Letters to parents and guardians of current fourth- and eighth-graders will be mailed out by the end of next week or the beginning of the following one, Keresztes said.

During the Student Achievement Committee meeting, Andrea L. Norton, supervisor of physical education and health, updated committee members about district compliance on physical education.

Forty full-time physical educator positions have been filled, but six more full-time and three part-time positions still need to be filled, Norton said.

Overall, 46 out of 59 district schools are in compliance by providing physical education classes three times every six days with a certified physical education teacher, Norton said.

The remaining 13 schools provide increased physical education time but are not compliant with all grades because of a lack of space and/or time without taking time from other subject areas.

Interviews are set up next week to get remaining physical education teacher positions filled.