BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Collegiate Charter School announced Monday that its board of trustees voted unanimously to withdraw its charter renewal application to the State University of New York, forcing the school to close in June.
The school met with parents, faculty, and staff this afternoon after they received informational letters about the closing.
“This decision is extremely tough for everyone involved, especially for those of us who founded the school as part of a mission to give our families educational choice and college preparation,” said Board Chair Jamel Perkins. “We fully understand the impact this has on our families, students, faculty, and staff, as well as the broader charter community.”
The decision comes after the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute (CSI) decided that Buffalo Collegiate did not qualify for another five-year charter extension, after the school failed to meet the required operations, performance, and academic metrics.
SUNY CSI visited Buffalo Collegiate twice this year, in November and January, and decided they would not give the school a renewal recommendation. The Board decided to not move forward with an appeal of that evaluation.
“There is an appeal process, and the initial reaction is of course to fight this, to make CSI’s evaluators change their minds. But a calm analysis shows that CSI examined our school thoroughly,” Perkins said. “CSI based its draft decision on the facts and we, as a school and a governing board, need to accept that this did not succeed. COVID is certainly a major factor here, as are recent impactful events in our community, which we understand, but cannot change. We are heartily sorry for this and we take responsibility for the outcome.”
Now 300 rising fifth-through-ninth graders will have to find another school this September. Brian Pawloski, head of schools, says their main focus right now is making sure these families find the next best option for their child next year.
"Most of our kids come from East and West sides of Buffalo...for our students right now we are just thinking about their next steps are. We will be working with local charters, working with the Bison Fund to get our students the best possible placement that we can find for them" Pawloski said.
The Collegiate students will also be able to participate in a citywide charter school lottery this spring for new placements.
In these last few months, Pawloski says, "our kids deserve us to be excellent each and every day for them for the next four months. We talk about finishing strong at the end of the day, at the end of a class, right before the break; and so that's going to be the symbol and mantra for us right now."