135 Incoming Freshman Left Without a High School In September as State Rejects Bennett Relaunch

New York State’s rejection of Buffalo schools’ plan for Bennett High School leaves 135 incoming ninth-graders currently without a high school to attend in September. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News) SOURCE: BUFFALO NEWS

The state Education Department has rejected the Buffalo Public Schools’ plan to relaunch Bennett High School this fall as a new school focusing on science and technology.

That leaves 135 incoming ninth-graders currently without a high school to attend in September.

In addition, the state is withholding, at least for now, approval of the district’s plans to convert Martin Luther King School 39 into the Medical Campus High School. That’s an embarrassing setback for the district, given that the White House recently awarded $3.9 million in grant money to the new school.

The two letters Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz sent Wednesday heap criticism on the district’s Bennett and MLK transformation plans as being inadequate, poorly planned and lacking in details.

“Department staff determined that the plan submitted by BPS does not provide the necessary evidence of comprehensive planning and support for the phase-out and phase-in schools,” Slentz wrote.

Both schools had been targeted by the state for change or closure because of “chronic academic failure.”

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