A crucial question arose about halfway through the presentation part of the community forum Tuesday evening in the Bennett High School auditorium.
“Are there any parents of a current Buffalo Public School student here tonight?” asked Will Keresztes, the school district’s chief of student support services. “Grandparents?”
No hands went up from the audience of about two dozen scattered along the central aisle of the vast auditorium.
That’s also the way it was at the previous two community forums on the district’s five-year Strategic Plan and District Comprehensive Improvement Plan, a district official noted when the formal presentation ended and everyone in the auditorium headed for break-out discussion sessions in the school cafeteria.
“How do we get the parents to come out?” the official wondered.
To be fair, parents might be excused from this phase of the preparation of the five-year plan. The heavy lifting already was done by district staffers working with more than 100 representatives of community organizations and stakeholders, including parents, when they drew up the draft of the plan. Its main features were outlined by school administrators during a bullet-point presentation.
These community meetings are being held to see if there are any more suggestions or tidbits of ideas to be gleaned from the public. The fourth and final forum takes place at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday in School 99, the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center, 1095 Jefferson Ave. at Best Street.
The final draft of the plan is expected by the end of the month, said Superintendent Pamela C. Brown.
Then the plan will be printed and displayed on the district’s website. Some of its provisions, such as “right-sizing” classrooms and individual schools, are expected to take place immediately. Brown thinks it also will have a stabilizing effect.
“We’re trying to bring more coherence to everything we’re doing,” she said. “It will help make sure we’re all moving toward the same goals and in the same direction.”