Williamsville parent on a mission

Charlie Maclay: "I never thought I'd see it go to a 12 on a scale of 10"
Williamsville Central School students protesting this week outside district offices on Casey Road.
Students protesting outside Williamsville Central School District offices

Frustration is boiling over in Williamsville. A group of Williamsville parents want a meeting with Acting Williamsville School Superintendent John McKenna.

Charlie Maclay, has twin seniors at Williamsville East High School. He and other parents representing 1700 students are not satisfied with communication from
Acting Superintendent John McKenna and the school board on when the hybrid model that they chose will begin.

"The Board and the Superintendent have gone into their bunker," said Maclay. "They're no longer talking or listening to people. I call it the Vladimir Putin school of leadership."

In a lengthy interview on WBEN Friday morning, Maclay says he and other parents have hesitated to "go nuclear" to give Dr. McKenna and the board an opportunity to do this in a friendly, polite and collaborative fashion. But he said they intend to reach out to state organizations that supervise boards and superintendents and they will go even higher if they need to.

"We're getting coached," Maclay said. "We have consulted with five local school superintendents to understand what some of our options are." He said the dysfunction has never risen to this level of "them versus us."

A statement from the Williamsville Central School District said:
The District is committed to keeping the lines of communication open and ensuring transparency as we continue to move forward in finalizing our plans and timeline for providing an equitable education for all students. Dr. McKenna met with Class Officers, along with the Student Interhigh Advisory Council, which has student leaders from all three high schools, on Monday. He will be meeting with student leaders again next week. In addition, Dr. McKenna met with Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) leadership on Wednesday night to have an open discussion and listen to the concerns of parents in the community.
We will also be meeting with the PTSA leadership next week.We have mobilized, strategized, and are moving methodically with our committees to find solutions both short and long term.
We will Reset, Relaunch, and Return

Charlie Maclay said students who met with McKenna said they felt they were used and it was nothing but a photo op. McKenna reportedly refused to answer any of their questions. "The feedback we're getting is that the meetings were controlled, managed and unproductive."

Maclay said there is a ground swell of anger in the district. "Some parents want rather aggressive action. But we're not out for a fight. We just want to be embraced in the conversation and have our choices respected. I never thought I'd see it go to a 12 on a scale of 10."