To: Buffalo Board of Education (BOE)
Barbara Nevergold, BOE President
Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Pamela Brown
From: Carl P. Paladino
Date: August 16, 2013
Re: Buffalo Board of Education, CPP Agenda of Issues and Motions for
meeting of August 21, 2013
The following is Carl P. Paladino’s continuing Agenda Index of new and repeated issue items, including motions, that I intend to make at the next meeting of the BOE. It is followed by the original agenda of items referred to committee.
I request that the BOE President issue me a schedule of the sub–Committee on Schools Reconstruction which I intend to attend.
Sharon Cottman stated at the Special Meeting of August 12, 2013 that it was incumbent upon me to adopt the position of the majority on issues before the BOE. After laboring with the idea for 22 seconds, I decided not to do that. She also suggested that I, as an individual, refrain from contacting anyone at the State Education Department (SED). That is a nonsensical suggestion.
I have waived the $5,000 annual stipend and requested that it be divided equally amongst the 8 schools in the Park district to be used by the Principals for the benefit of the students as they see fit in their sole discretion. If there is a problem with that, please advise.
Issue items marked “confidential” are not being distributed to others. I will address all other items at the open meeting and confidential issues in executive session.
Please add my agenda to the master BOE agenda.
For those receiving copies of this memo, please feel free to forward the same to your friends, relatives and fellow employees as you may see fit.
Issue #11. Charter Schools. Florence Johnson indicated at the last special meeting of the BOE, that BOE members should be anti-Charter. Her skewed thinking is that anyone who supports Charter schools has a conflict and should recuse themselves. Obviously she, and those who think like her, (the Education cabal that I wrote of in my last correspondence) have little or no regard for the fact that Charters are public schools authorized by the State as a tool for turning around dysfunctional urban school districts. If there were no Charters there would be another 8,000 students in priority schools.
Issue #30. Motion#16. Dismissal of the Superintendent. I re-submit my motion to dismiss the Superintendent for cause.
We presently pay approximately $850,000/year for Superintendent leadership–total cost of Pamela Brown is $350,000/year and the contract with Mary Guinn is $500,000/year. Mary Guinn and others perform all of Pamela Brown’s functions.
The BPS was during the past year not only dysfunctional, but a disastrous train wreck. Virtually every aspect of the Superintendent’s leadership is an ineffective disappointment. There is little question that the Education cabal is also at fault. It has been on the watch of Florence Johnson, Sharon Cottman, Barbara Nevergold, Ruth Kapsiak and John Licata, who selected the deficient Superintendent, that the BPS has slid into the abyss. These people are more interested in preserving the status quo than effectuating change. They blow through public funds to pay pathetic and incompetent appointees, consultants and new hires rather than spend our funding to educate our children.
Cabal Board members have propped up their weak and incapable Superintendent with only God knows how many outside consultants, EPO Partners and new hires whose cost is so outrageous that it was necessary to close down the music program in the schools and give costly useless jobs to those replaced. The Superintendent said she saved $1 million in the budget but never proved it and refuses to address that issue because she lied just as she lied about the APPR issue. She continues to make policy decisions without BOE approval because she has been told to do so by BOE members who selected her and now protect her out of pride.
Mary Guinn has a $500,000 contract, (of which she pockets at least $400,000). She has, in secret, and without any consultation or approval by the full BOE, implemented a Reorganization Plan illegally and unethically replacing an unknown number of good and qualified administrators, principals and teachers in sensitive and critical administrative positions, with misfit members of her friends and family club who hold themselves out as “turnaround specialists” and travel around the country ripping off urban school districts in distress.
These BOE members do not understand their own shortcomings and responsibilities and carry an unjustified arrogant attitude that they know what they are doing. They have no shame for their failure because they incredibly believe they have served the children well. What are they going to do when the three Cabal at-large members are replaced next year and the new majority fires the Superintendent, the General Counsel, the principal at East High School (who lied about “dumping” 155 students) and all of the consultants and other appointees for collusion and incompetence. Who is going to jail when we get into all the books and records? Government corruption is a Federal crime where Federal funding is involved. Amateur hour is over. This is the big leagues and we play for keeps.
The real problem with the BPS has been top down pathetic leadership, incapable of submitting proper applications for SIG grants, the remediating of priority schools, implementing an acceptable school choice program under the No Child Left Behind Law or confronting the re-implementation of neighborhood schools which the community cries out for. The Education Cabal has a predisposition for the status quo and makes every excuse why change can’t be effectuated.
Issue #3. Motion #30. Reorganization Plan. I have been asking for the past 45 days for the Reorganization Plan chart and other specifics. I’ve received nothing, but implementation has proceeded.
I’ve asked for the names, titles, “special qualifications,” contracts and compensation that made it so important to hire lame and misfit administrators from outside Erie County.
I’ve asked what happened to the people who were replaced and why theywere replaced?
I’ve asked for the complete line item budget.
I’ve asked for a citation of the law that allows the Superintendent to appoint exempt people, outside the budget, without BOE approval.
I’ve asked why the last General Counsel was fired and why his replacement was chosen to be General Counsel after having been rejected two years ago for an associate’s position. This is the same person who was asked to advise the BOE on three matters and was wrong twice. She also at the last meeting colluded with a BOE member and tried to lie about it.
I move that the BOE instruct the Superintendent to immediately respond to my questions stated above.
Issue #29. Motion #31. Neighborhood Schools. At the last BOE meeting John Licata said that the change from neighborhood schools to “school choice” was a laborious project and even though “school choice” is a complete failure, that to change back to neighborhood schools would be going back to segregation and some inner City neighborhoods are dangerous for children to walk to school. So he advocates that we just continue with the same failing system.
As a lawyer, Licata knows that a Federal judge would be hard put to make the same mistake that Judge Curtin made. His decision made our schools dysfunctional, sent uneducated students to the streets, scared the middle and working class to flee to the suburbs for fear of sending their children into a dysfunctional school system, resulting in the decay of neighborhoods and property values. He destroyed the City of Buffalo.
We should use the neighborhood school model wherever possible to get the kids off the buses and walking to school, allow parents who have more than one child to have them in one school so they can actually participate in their education, allow the neighborhood to once again participate in school activities and restore the confidence in the community that the BPS is trying to do better.
I move that the BOE instruct the Superintendent to immediately prepare a plan to implement a model elementary neighborhood school program at School 72-Lorraine Academy, School 27–Hillery Park Elementary, School 93-South-Side Elementary, a reopened school 70, School 43-Lovejoy Discovery School, School 69 Houghton Academy, School 33–Bi-Lingual Center, School 67-Discovery School.
Issue #39. Motion#32. Lafayette– English Learning. Lafayette High School’s basic problem has been identified. Over 50% of the 800 plus students are refugees who speak over 40 different languages and can’t understand English. The Superintendent’s first $1.2 million EPO plan with Johns Hopkins was devoid of any reference to English Learning (EL). Did she overlook the core problem or did the predisposed and dis-engaged, highly paid, Mary Guinn make the decision for her? I raised the question at the BOE meeting and the plan was then modified to address the critical issue. But we learned at the August 12 meeting that the budget (contract) amount was not settled. The Administration also acknowledged that they never received a breakdown of the contract price so they really had no idea how the value of the service was determined. Why should they care? The BOE walked into the trap and approved the contract leaving open the issue of the amount of additional compensation which will be difficult to negotiate with people you’ve already contracted with.
I move that the President of the BOE act immediately and before the start of the school year to insure that the best EL program available is implemented at Lafayette.
Issue #4. Motion#1. Superintendent Evaluation. I re-submit my motion that the BOE declare the Superintendent’s Evaluation was illegal.
Issue #6. Motions #2-2d. APPR and MOU. I resubmit my motions concerning the fraudulent filing of the APPR.
Issue #18. Motion # 33. Retiree Health Insurance costs. This budget year has a provision for $66.6 million to cover health insurance for 4,000 retires which amounts to $16,650. Recognizing that retirees do not have children and in many cases do not have spouses, the numbers are staggering.
I move that Barb Smith be instructed to make a public presentation to the BOE of why the health costs for retirees are so high, including a description of coverages and possible less costly alternatives.
Issue # 22. Motion #34. Tenure. I move the BOE instruct the Superintendent that prior to making any negotiated or final decision on the granting or denial of tenure, that the employee’s record and the reason for the decision be submitted to the BOE in executive session.
Issue # 35. Unions, Contracts. I request a briefing by the Superintendent of the status of contract negotiations with the BPS various unions.
Issue # 37. Motion # 35. School 43 Alternative Program. I move that the BOE instruct the Superintendent to review the proposal made by Norman Backos to convert School 43 to an alternative education program and report the prospect of adopting the program.
Issue # 40. Motion # 36. Violence. There appears to be an unwritten policy in the BPS that if possible, incidents involving students, parents, staff or others, observed or by complaint, be kept within the schools so as to cover up and deny the public knowledge of the extent of violence, intimidation and bullying in the BPS.
I move that the BOE set a firm and public policy that any incident involving students, parents, staff or others, brought on by observation or complaint, in the BPS that looks like, sounds like or appears in any way to be a crime be referred immediately to the Buffalo Police Department for formal and public investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution as a juvenile or as an adult as the case may be, with no further involvement by BPS personnel.
Issue # 41. Charter School of Applied Technologies (CSAT). The CSAT is a well performing public Charter School with a majority of its students coming from the City of Buffalo. Although the actual school is located in Kenmore the school is a critical factor in the education of Buffalo students. I move that the BOE ask the Say Yes Administration to extend its program to students at CSAT.