The Buffalo school system hasn't quite figured out how to address the racial disparities at its top-performing school.
The next step?
Ask the public.
The school district is hosting three public meetings during October seeking community input on "improving racial and ethnic diversity at its criteria-based schools" - most notably City Honors School.
“We’re asking community members to bring forward a concrete idea and solution," said Will Keresztes, chief of intergovernmental affairs, planning and community engagement for the Buffalo Public Schools. "It’s a meaningful opportunity for stakeholders to talk one on one with a staff member and have their specific recommendation shared with the board and superintendent.”
African-American students comprise 48.5 percent of the enrollment in grades 5 through 12 across the district this year, compared to 16.4 percent at City Honors. Likewise, Hispanic students make up 8.5 percent of the enrollment at the school on East North Street, while their proportion of the overall student body in those grades is nearly double that.
Two years of altering the admissions process at City Honors has done nothing to correct the disproportionately low number of black and Hispanic students at the school, and the district - forced to address the issue after a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education - faces some hard decisions on how next to proceed.
But before Superintendent Kriner Cash makes any recommendations to the Board of Education, the district wants to get input from the community on this touchy topic.
The public is being invited to sit with district staff at a meeting room table and share ideas. Staff will take notes on any recommendations and share them with the superintendent and board. The district also has asked its new Parent Congress to get recommendations from its members, Keresztes said.
The community meetings will be held:
- Monday, Oct. 16, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 801 of City Hall.
- Thursday, Oct. 19, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the meeting room of the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, 324 Jefferson Ave.
- Thursday, Oct. 24, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Belle Center, 104 Maryland St.