The Buffalo School Board voted Wednesday to renew Enterprise Charter School for two years after its January vote approving three years was shot down by the state Board of Education.
Board members took Superintendent Pamela C. Brown’s recommendation to say in their resolution that one year would be acceptable if a two-year time frame was not, along with an explanation and what Enterprise needed to be accountable for.
Brown said it was initially thought the school’s evaluation hinged on operational compliance and fiscal stability, which have been two areas of success. Later, she was informed learning student performance, such as lagging scores in English language arts, also had to be weighed.
“One of the major considerations is whether the school is meeting its own identified targets and goals, and in this case it has not been the case across the board for this school,” Brown said.
She recommended a one-year renewal before saying two years could also be acceptable if the state was agreeable.
“This will give us the opportunity to look at the school’s performance this year, in the third year of the new leadership’s tenure. That has been the term that’s been looked at as a measure of success,” Brown said.
Some board members raised concerns that Enterprise was being held to a higher standard than some other charter schools that have been granted three-year renewals despite weaker evaluations.
“There is a double standard as to why they’re looking at this charter school differently than the previous ones,” said Ferry District member Sharon Belton-Cottman.
“There seems to be an inequity of power and influence,” said Florence Johnson, member at large.
North District member Jason M. McCarthy expressed concern that no parents would want to enroll their children in kindergarten if they thought Enterprise could close in a year.
Also at the School Board meeting, Joseph P. Giusana, chief operating officer of the Division of Plant Services, said progress was being made at the newly renovated Math Science Technology School 197 in determining what was causing bad odors and sewage backup problems that have affected six or seven classrooms and caused students and faculty to become sick.
Among the findings so far, Giusana said, were sink and drain lines that were not properly capped and which could be a source of sewer gas getting into the building.
Also, Tamara Branch, a former principal at Compton High School in Los Angeles who has been hired as field manager at Lafayette and East High Schools, was well received by the board as she gave a spirited presentation on how she hopes to turn those underperforming schools around.