To: City of Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority
Date: December 27, 2013
Re: Insolvency of the Buffalo Public Schools
Above is the link to a memo that I sent to the Buffalo Board of Education (BOE) and Superintendent last week outlining the deplorable condition of the finances and some of the bad decision making of the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) which requires your immediate attention.
The BPS is being mismanaged by a Superintendent and majority of the Board of Education who illustrate no sense of fiscal responsibility. They do not have the experience or education necessary to administer a $1 billion annual budget. Their cavalier attitude resulted many bad and irresponsibly careless decisions. The attached original district reorganization plan, proposed by outside objective consultants, called for a $5.7 million cost savings by way of a reduction of 90 jobs in the bloated administrative bureaucracy. The plan was then manipulated into an estimated $3 million additional cost by the Superintendent at the behest of sisterhood BOE members. Cloaked in secrecy, without any transparency, bad decisions by the sisterhood and their Superintendent illustrate that they have defied the Peter Principle and risen to elected or appointed office well above their level of competency.
Your respective offices are charged with the responsibility to protect the taxpayers of Buffalo from waste and mismanagement of funds. State law is clear in this matter. It is improper for the BPS to use their unrestricted reserves as they are now doing. They are required to keep 4% of the budget in unrestricted reserve. The unrestricted reserve will be raided for in excess of $40 million this fiscal year and $48 million is now estimated for next year, which will completely deplete the reserve.
There also appears to be a question about the legal use of grant funds that requires an in depth audit. The Superintendent seems to always find grant money as an excuse for her out of control hiring and reassignment of administrative and teaching staff.
The next scheduled meeting of the Control Board is March 12, 2014, creating a time problem with the development of the BPS budget for the 2014-15 school year. I request that the Control Board immediately call a special meeting and resolve to go hard as to its supervision of the BPS. I also request that the Comptroller exercise his authority to audit the use of reserves and the use of grant monies.
I appeared at the December meeting of the BFSA and was surprised at the hideous line of ignorant, insulting and abusive questions presented by George Arthur and Frank Messiah to Judy Elliott, the distinguished educator assigned to the BPS by the State Education Commissioner. It was also obvious that the Superintendent sat with a smile on her face while the intimidation went on. She offered no defense for the lady who has repeatedly defended the Superintendent’s incompetence and carried her water for months. Obviously neither interrogator had read any of Ms. Elliott’s reports or investigated the massive contribution she has made to everything good that has occurred in the BPS over the past year including the huge amount of grant money received from the State which would not have happened without her involvement. The BOE majority obviously set up Arthur and Messiah to marginalize the value of Ms. Elliott. They regularly blurt out their disdain for the lady at BOE meetings. Arthur and Messiah have also spent their careers living the hypocrisy of African American leadership enjoying the fruits of power while keeping the urban poor captive in the cycle of poverty.
It is easier to repair strong children than to fix broken men.
Please feel free to share this missive with your friends and family members.