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Future of Community Charter at Stake

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Buffalo: Future of Community Charter at Stake
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The fate of a Buffalo charter school is at stake. School leaders and members of the community rallied Friday and as YNN's Kate McGowan reports, they are preparing to fight to save the school from closing its doors.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The message from school leaders is loud and clear.

"We're fighting the fight and we will win. We will remain open because our families and community need us," said Community Charter School Leader, Denise Luka.

Poor academic performance has put Community Charter, on the city's east side, at risk for closure. The school is in the final year of its charter and is currently seeking state renewal.

But with low test scores, the State Board of Regents is concerned about offering an extension.

"There clearly has been a decline for the last three years in our student scores, which is of great concern to the board and administration," said board member, Daniel Ricigliano.

To try and save the school, officials created and are implementing the 'School Improvement Plan'. The primary focus is literacy and math.

"Our teachers are able to pinpoint for every child, where they're weak in ELA or math and then they can strengthen that," said Ricigliano.

And in just ten weeks of carrying out that plan, teachers are seeing progress.

One parent said, "I think we can turn it around. I have received letters in the mail in reference to the Huntington Center doing tutoring here."

"We have shown substantial growth in a number of kids below par, so to speak, below grade level," a school official explained.

But the improvements may not be enough. School officials said the Board of Regents is likely not to renew the charter.

It's an emotional reality for many families.

"I think at least give the school, the teachers, and administration the opportunity to, you know, turn things around and give us some time," parent, Danielle German exclaimed.

Another parent said about his grandchildren, "They love this school and think the world of it."

Hundreds showed up to a rally at the school. Officials encouraged parents and community leaders to plea to the state for an extension and ultimately another chance.

"Our hope, clearly is that the Board of Regents will give a serious look at the School Improvement Plan and the things we've changed and implemented the past few weeks."

The Board of Regents should decide by December 10th or 11th on whether or not the charter will remain open.

More than 300 students will be affected if the school closes.

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