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District should bring back Upgrade Academic Program

The decision by the Buffalo School District to terminate the Upgrade Academic Program for middle school students at Lafayette High School is of concern and troubling, focusing as it did on children at risk and in need of such after-school tutoring and supplemental academic assistance.
The rationale for the district to waive its application for such funding and redirect it to other supplemental educational services deserves an answer to the question about what is in the best interests of borderline and struggling children, many of whom are immigrants who need and who have benefited from this special assistance.
With the under-achieving test scores of Lafayette a public record, it would behoove those in leadership roles to focus their efforts on improving the skills and grades of such students by providing them with opportunities such as was given in the discontinued Upgrade Program.
It is hoped that the new superintendent, Pamela C. Brown, will revisit this decision, which was done without sufficient consideration of its longer-term possibilities, and which reflects a dismissal of the needs of the children who, with this assistance, have the opportunity to advance more readily in overcoming academic shortcomings.
As an attorney in the Family Court system, and having observed the results of such a program, I would urge that this decision be reconsidered at the earliest possible time.
Richard J. Lehner
Buffalo