From: Carl Paladino
To: Barbara Nevergold, Ruth Kapsiak, Sharon Cottman, John Licata, Jim Sampson, Jay Mccarthy, Florence Johnson, Theresa A. Harris-Tigg.
Date: August 9, 2013, 9:13:25 PM EDT
Subject: Comprehensive Action Plan. School Choice.
Dr. Nevergold, you are a seated member of the BOE equal to me with the added responsibility of effectuating the office of BOE President without bias or agenda.
You have a different perspective than I.
I have asked repeatedly for 45 days for the reorg plan specifics and have received absolutely nothing. Your responses to me appear to be designed to delay disclosure of what appears to be the illegal and unethical hiring practices of the Superintendent and the administration.
I was elected and you were appointed in part to ensure absolute transparency and that staff who choose to speak out are not intimidated or recriminated against. We have neither.
You will either act as an unbiased and transparent President of the BOE or I will move at every meeting for your dismissal as President and eventually rally the people into Niagara Square to demand your resignation.
I may be one vote but that vote will be respected, the best interests of the children of the city of Buffalo will be respected, and the interests of the people of the City of Buffalo will be respected. The status-quo is unacceptable.
The Superintendent specifically set out the parameters of a plan that did not consider the outsourcing of students. No one even called a suburban district to ask about availability. Why can’t a survey of the parents be done to determine how many of those seeking choice might want to attend BOCES vocational programs. If special legislation is required for Charters ask for it. What better time than crisis time. Demand it. Maybe we can also get the SED authority to take over the BPS and abrogate contracts.
Who is the Superintendent that she presumes she can make that policy decision. You and I know who made that decision. Let’s tell the people the truth about that.
I watched as you allowed a biased group of status-quo followers dominate public input at the East and Lafayette hearings, intimidating parents, students and teachers to not speak up.
I have also watched you allow the hiring of a barrage of misfit members of the Mary Guinn friends and family club to sensitive and critical administrative positions with absolutely no BOE involvement or approval of a major shift in policy, vetting or disclosure of their “special qualifications”, contracts or compensation. You have failed in your responsibility to protect BOE jurisdiction.
And now you want to tell me to wait until the August 21 BOE meeting to listen to a presentation by our more than incapable Superintendent instead of presenting Mary Guinn for questions immediately. I don’t think so. Government corruption is a Federal crime and Federal funds are involved in the hiring of Mary Guinn and her misfits.
On Aug 9, 2013, at 1:58 PM, “Barbara Nevergold” wrote:
Mr. Paladino, per our earlier discussions Dr. Brown will provide a presentation on the re- organizational plan at the Board meeting of August 21. I believe that this presentation will address all questions raised by Board members. Please note that contrary to your assertion, all reorganization plans have not been held in secret nor has information about Dr. Guinn and her role.
It’s unfortunate that you seek to portray these actions as illegal and or unethical before having a thorough understanding of the facts. I look forward to a discussion of these issues. Barbara Nevergold
On Aug 9, 2013, at 12:31 PM, Carl Paladino wrote:
Thank you Will. Barbara, all of this must be aired at a lengthily special meeting along with my requests at the last meeting concerning the issue of Mary Guinn (who must be present at the special meeting to answer questions) and the numerous illegal hirings that have been made over the past 4 months outside of budget without BOE approval that I will address to you this weekend. I am still waiting for the organizational chart and the specifics of the reorg plan, with names, titles, pay rates, date of hire referencing specific budget lines, resumes for each, copies of the contracts for each and an explanation of what happened to the people who were replaced, an explanation of the specifics of the claimed $1mil budget savings, a line item budget, a citation of the law that allows the superintendent to appoint exempt people outside of the budget without BOE approval, what happened to the last General Counsel, the resume, pay rate, disclosure of relations in the BPS of the new General Counsel, Mary Guinn’s compensation and contract, the BPS relationship with Evans Newton, Inc., and the reason all reorg activity has been done in secret. By copy of this memo I am requesting that the SED immediately audit the BPS and refer the matter to the NYS Attorney General for investigation. Enough is enough.
On Aug 9, 2013, at 11:34 AM, “Keresztes, Will” wrote:
I had originally included a section on collaboration with charters. Unfortunately SED replied that such collaborations are not allowable. We had to delete it.
On parochials–I completely agree that it’s a great potential opportunity, but again SED was clear that district funds, state aid, etc. may not be used for such purposes. The dollars, as was explained to me, would need to come from a non-district source. I couldn’t commit such an unknown in a CAP. The only exceptions to that are private agencies approved by the state to provide services for students with severe disabilities.
Goal 5 address collaboration with the suburbs. Both SED and I thought it best have Erie 1 facilitate the dialogue since the area districts are all components of Erie 1–rather than the BPS searching on behalf of our students, It’s more efficient for Erie 1 to manage that discussion. Don Ogilvie has agreed to provide that service for us free of charge.
Please be assured that since I received the responsibility to correct the previous plan, only SED has provided input on the correction because their issues from the July 15 needed to be addressed comprehensively. I have not discussed the corrections with any union official since it would be irrelevant to do so.
No plan is perfect but I hope you can support the progressive measures contained in it. Thanks. I deeply appreciate your advocacy for our children.
Carl Paladino wrote:
Thanks Will. The plan fails to address the outsourcing of students which is a fundamental right under the law that must be aired and incorporated in the policy, despite what SED will find acceptable, in the best interests of the children. We must have a special meeting to air this issue. Was a survey done for availability in charters, privates and suburban districts? If so please publish the results. I was also told Lorraine has capacity for 1 classroom at each level but because of bus congestion can only take locals. Why can’t that be done? Why can’t we send as many as possible to BOCES? Why is the plan so protective of union leaders?
On Aug 9, 2013, at 10:12 AM, Will Kiritsis wrote:
Board of Education Members:
I ask that you take a moment to the read the plan I sent you yesterday and call me at any time with your questions and suggestions (400-2718). Please be assured that it is the product of several hours of quality interaction with SED staff interested in having us be successful in our implementation–a plan that does not over-promise and under-deliver.
SED is aware that we cannot fit 2200 transfers into our several Schools in Good Standing in the next three weeks. The purpose of the plan is to establish attainable action steps to do so in the future. Thanks.
From: Barbara Nevergold
Mr. Paladino I would urge you to call dr. Keresztes this morning as he can answer many of the questions that you have about the CAP. I will also respond to your concerns in greater detail later today.. Barbara Nevergold
Carl Paladino wrote:
I would like to know how the Superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools can furnish the State Education Department (SED) and announce to the public the original or yesterday’s amended revision to the Comprehensive Action Plan on the No Child Left Behind school choice question without proper open and transparent review, discussion and debate and a vote to approve as policy by the Board of Education, (BOE).
I have been told that the plan was prepared in concert with Phil Rumore and Crystal Barton, the teacher and administrator union leaders, who demanded that there be no outsourcing of students in the plan. There was no known consultation with BOE committees or BOE members. Why were the union leaders even consulted? The complicity of certain BOE members and union leadership is very apparent.
I am sending a copy of this memorandum to Commissioner John King to advise that the revised plan submitted to the State is not legal insofar as it was never debated in public or approved by the Board of Education.
Appearances are that with the apparent secret assent of certain BOE members, which may or may not include yourself, the Superintendent and her administration is free to set policy any old way they choose. That is apparently the way it has been done in the past because lazy or complicit BOE members didn’t argue with the process.
I have spoken to Mr. Sampson and he agrees to this request that you withdraw the submission to the SED and immediately schedule a special meeting of the BOE to discuss, review, debate and vote on the policy as it pertains to the right of choice for over 2,000 students presently in failing schools.
Who gives anyone the right to tell these children that they will wait in line for three years to get an opportunity for an education so that the education establishment can figure out how they can get ahead of this crisis and maintain the status quo.
The focus has not been on the children, but rather on those who choose to eat at the trough of the Buffalo Public Schools. The BOE and administration should be ashamed of themselves for advancing such an absurd proposal as that rendered on Thursday which fails to take advantage of opportunities to out-source students to BOCES, Charter Schools, private schools and suburban schools where availability has been clearly evident. Lorraine Academy alone could take over 250 “local” students, without more bussing, in existing infrastructure.