The Tapestry vote
Masten Councilman Ulysees Wingo's been visibly upset for days over what's occurring at Tapestry Charter School.
Prior to the Tapestry Board of Trustees rejecting a plan that would have moved its grammar school students to a shuttered Buffalo school on Olympic Avenue on the city's East Side, Wingo toured the current Tapestry school building on Great Arrow Avenue in North Buffalo.
The school is so crowded, Wingo said, that teachers work out of closets, student conferences are held under stairwells, and student small group meetings are held in the hall.
The track team, Wingo said, uses the hallways as a running course because their gym is too small. Music classes are held in mobile trailers.
So ever since the Tapestry Board of Trustees voted against its administration's plan to purchase and move some of its students into the Olympic Avenue building, Wingo's been struggling to understand the vote.
The board of Trustees the night of the vote said the process of selecting an expansion school should have brought more parents into the conversation.
But the decision, Wingo said, was apparently based on feedback from a small percentage of white parents at a school where an overwhelming percentage of students are children of color. The current Tapestry School building is located in a predominately white neighborhood. The Olympic Avenue School is in a predominately black neighborhood.
"How were you able to vote 'no ' on this expansion when the feedback that fueled your decision was comprised of only a small percentage of parents whose race represents a minority of your programs' families," the councilman asked in a letter being sent to Tapestry Board members.
Wingo, who chairs the Council's Education Committee, is calling on all Tapestry board members to explain their vote to the Council, either via-email or at the Council's next Education Committee meeting. He also called for a change in the Tapestry board leadership, and a re-vote on the issue.
Wingo's committee has established a relationship with the Buffalo Board of Education, but this would be the first time his committee has reached out to any charter schools.
"This would have been a great opportunity to educate more children, as they have a waiting list," Wingo said of Tapestry Charter School.
South District Councilman Chris Scanlon and Lovejoy Councilman Rich Fontana Tuesday introduced a resolution to toughen fines and establish citywide conditions for all food store licenses in Buffalo. It's the legislative approach the Council is taking to address problems in some of these stores. But Fontana's taking it a bit further in his district.
"I've been asking kids what is going on in these stories," Fontana told his colleagues. "I asked a 19-year-old."
The teenager , Fontana said, told him of one store clerk who tried to sell him Oxycontin pills. Another tired to sell him marijuana. The teen wasn't interested in either case.
"This is what is going on in these stores," Fontanan said.
The councilman said he went to one of the stores recently at 9 p.m. The city license the store received, Fontana said, required the store to close at 9 p.m.
"I stood in the store at 9 p.m. They were open," he said.
Fontana said he hung around awhile and listened as the clerk spoke with customers, looked at Fontana, then told customers to come back later.
One customer, Fontana said, purchased an item that the clerk placed in a bag.
"I said 'Open the bag,'" Fonanta recalled.'There was a pack of Seneca cigarettes."
"It's illegal," Fontana said of the store store selling Seneca Nation cigarettes.
There are some corner stores in his district that are great, Fontana, but a few, he said, are operating 'like it's the wild, wild West."
A Poll. Please Vote
A City Hallways poll: Tell us what you think. Which of these nine issues do you consider the most important facing the city of Buffalo? Next most important, and next after that?
As always, I'll leave the poll up all week, then report back on the results next Monday, and try to have an analysis of results later in the week.
City Hallways readers know the routine. Only one ballot per person please.
Some Demographic Questions for analysis purposes. Thank you!
In today's Buffalo News and buffalonews.com, I have story on the Buffalo PBA saying its patrol officers need more firepower.