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Future of Buffalo depends on success of public schools

The downtown Medical Campus, with its limited parking options, will encourage future campus employees to commute using public transportation according to a Sunday News article. The article focused on the hundreds of new housing units along the Metro Rail line that will allow residents easy rail access to the Medical Campus. University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell was quoted saying, “medical students and other workers represent ‘serious’ tenants who will stabilize the area.”

In the same paper, distinguished educator Judy L. Elliott stated, “There’s very little evidence that things have changed in the [Buffalo] schools.”

What’s the connection? Unless the city schools improve dramatically, young married professionals living along the Metro Rail line will be confronted with a dilemma when their first child reaches school age. The educational options are limited and many times costly. Unless a child can be enrolled in one of the “good” schools, the parents are faced with spending money to send their son or daughter to a private or parochial school or leave the city for the suburbs.

Buffalo does a great job luring single professionals to the city, but has done a poor job retaining young families that can provide the city the tax base and stability it needs. The Buffalo Schools are an easy target, but the reality is that the entire system is broken. The city is desperate for leadership, and that includes not just the superintendent and the Board of Education but also the mayor and Common Council. The success and future of Buffalo is dependent on the success of Buffalo’s schools.

Donald L. Houck Jr.

Buffalo