Buffalo: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Buffalo operates one of the premier public school systems in New York State; it is noted for its successful model magnet school system developed in 1976 to attract students with special interests, which include science, bilingual studies, and Native American studies. Specialized facilities include the Buffalo Elementary School of Technology; the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Multicultural Institute; the International School; the Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet School; Build Academy; the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts; the City Honors School; the Riverside Institute of Technology; and the Emerson School of Hospitality. Students of the public school system consistently produce high SAT scores, and the overall drop-out rate is significantly lower than that of the New York State public school average.

Buffalo Public Schools has begun to tap into its valuable university, college, and community college resources with partnership programs through which college students mentor K-12 students, provide tutoring in subjects such as math, support female K-12 students in getting and staying involved in the sciences, and much more.

In the 2002-2003 school year, five schools were closed as a cost-saving measure, addressing the declining population and enrollment in the district.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Buffalo public schools as of the 2003-2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 38,000

Number of facilities

elementary/middle schools: 50

senior high schools: 18

Student/teacher ratio: 13:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $32,000

maximum: $60,000

Funding per pupil: $10,572 (2003)

In addition, about 70 private elementary and high schools are located in the city, including the Buffalo Seminary, a college preparatory school for girls and western New York's oldest private high school. The Nichols School is noted for its outstanding coeducational, non-denominational college preparatory program. The Academy of Theatre Arts prepares young actors between the ages of 8 through 18 for the rigors of stage, television and film performance, and production.

Public Schools Information: Buffalo Public Schools, 713 City Hall, Buffalo, NY 14202; telephone (716)851-3500.

Colleges and Universities

More than 20 public and private colleges and universities in Buffalo and its environs offer programs in technical and vocational training, graduate, and professional studies. The University at Buffalo is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system of public institutions of higher education and is the largest public research university in the state. Millard Fillmore, who later became president of the U.S., was the first chancellor at the school, which has graduated its share of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, journalists, and filmmakers. The university started as a medical college and it has retained its health-oriented academic focus—degrees in dental medicine, medicine and biomedical sciences, public health, nursing, and bioinformatics are available, as are concentrations in education and the arts. Buffalo State College, also in the SUNY network of schools, enrolls more than 11,000 students per year and is renowned for its programs linking the liberal arts with professional training. It also is one of only five schools in the country offering graduate programs in the preservation of neglected or aging works of art. Its "Buffalo State Works at Night" program places special emphasis on non-traditional students returning to school.

The city branch of the Erie Community College is located in downtown Buffalo and is also part of the SUNY system. The school offers associate's degrees in 58 programs and certifications in 7 areas of study; credits can also be transferred to 4-year institutions.

Other academic institutions in the Buffalo area include Canisius College (independent with a Jesuit heritage), Villa Maria College (Catholic two-year), D'Youville College (in-dependent four-year institution), Trocaire College (two-year community college), and Medaille College (private four-year institution).

Libraries and Research Centers

Libraries have been important to Buffalonians since the city's early days, when the first library was established in 1836. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Erie County Library system merged with the City of Buffalo Public Library, becoming the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, an impressive library network that ranks as the country's seventh largest. The library system contains 2,335,013 books, 79,316 audio items, 30,835 video materials, and about 15,970 serial subscriptions. Erie County residents are served by a central library in downtown Buffalo and another 52 facilities scattered throughout the county municipalities; a bookmobile program fills in the gaps. The Rare Book Room, established in the 1940s following a theft of valuable books, is open by appointment only; it contains more than 8,000 volumes on Americana, the manuscript of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and more than 2,000 volumes of American literary works, including first editions of Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and others. The library also specializes in resources for the business and academic communities, offering more than 65,000 books on business and related subjects.

The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society maintains a 20,000-volume collection of works on Erie County and U.S. history, including the manuscript collection of Millard Fillmore. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Art Reference Library contains 31,000 books on modern art. Buffalo is one of seven U.S. cities to house a Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The museum's comprehensive collection is the largest of its kind in the world. College, medical, law, and corporate libraries proliferate throughout the city.

A major research center in Buffalo is the University at Buffalo, which maintains more than 75 research facilities, including the Microarray and Genomics Core Facility, the Salivary Research Center, and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis. University of Buffalo's Center for Computational Research is considered one of the leading high-performance computing sites in the world. Perhaps the university's most ambitious research effort to date is the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences. The $200 million center was completed in 2002; located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the initiative was designed to centralize life sciences expertise in a concerted effort to study and intervene in human disease while also stimulating the economy by forging partnerships between the university and industry. Roswell Park Cancer Institute, one of the world's oldest cancer research facilities, operates in close cooperation with the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and is considered one of the top oncology research and treatment facilities in the country. The Roswell center's work focuses on the areas of immunology, cancer prevention, cancer genetics, cellular stress biology, and pharmacology and therapeutics.

Buffalo State University operates a fleet of research ships and an on-shore laboratory as part of its Great Lakes Center for Environmental Research and Education. Among the major defense- or industry-related research facilities in the area is the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory. Major companies such as duPont and Paper Allied Industrial Chemical also conduct research in Buffalo.

Public Library Information: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, One Lafayette Square, Buffalo, NY 14203; telephone (716)858-8900