To:         The people of the City of Buffalo

From:    Carl P. Paladino

Date:     April 16, 2012

Re:         Buffalo Board of Education

 

I have chosen to run for the Park District seat on the Board of Education (BOE).

The election is May 7, 2013.

Since the days of Joe Manch, Eugene Reville, Joe Murray, Rocco Lamparelli and the many other enlightened people who historically supervised a viable, responsive and inspired Buffalo School System focused on the children, our accepting and complacent community has allowed a progressive, incompetent, self-absorbed element of opportunists to hijack the Board of Education and allow it to fall into the abyss of dysfunction.

Today we have a Board, a Superintendent and an executive staff who, in concert with union leadership and a faceless and irresponsible State Education Department, are so incompetent of facing the challenges of education in the 21st century, that to solve problems they simply change the rules on how statistics are gathered i.e. dropout rate and school attendance.  We have allowed it.  We do not demand truth and transparency. We let them intimidate teachers and principals to keep their mouths shut.

The State continues the farcical notion that micro-management and mandates by a huge bureaucratic and faceless central staff in Albany is better than education management at the school level.

The BOE likewise has grown a top heavy central administrative and executive staff of impotents who obtained their positions not by merit, but by way of the friends and family club. They are not only incapable, inexperienced and dull but also arrogant and condescending in exercising their domain over understaffed principals in the schools.  Decentralization is vital.

The Board, which is charged with setting policy, works blindly to maintain the status quo and support the same programs that have failed the system in the past, in many cases because they are so incapable of operating a $965 million school system that they fear change.

They chose a Superintendent for all the wrong reasons.  They disappointed the community down when they failed to find the best person for the job…a person who already successfully faced the challenge of turning around a dysfunctional American urban school district, no matter what his or her color.  They also have paid the person a $500,000 signing bonus with a 1 year contract to perform for renewal.  That is what a smart Board would have done.  The BOE Board found instead a lady who had a Harvard Ph.D but never supervised a school district of any size, had absolutely no credentials and who today and for the last year has hidden in her office fearful of the press, the teachers, the principals and the parents because she doesn’t have a clue what to do and is dominated by a clueless Board.

Another example of Board dysfunction is that they are still forcing 30,000 kids to sit on buses for up to 3 hours a day for no good reason other than providing jobs for bus aides, keeping the bus company fat and happy and holding on to the notion that their definition of “school choice” works.  It doesn’t.  Parents, teachers and neighborhood communities are crying out for a return to neighborhood community elementary schools which will engage parents, teachers and the community as a whole, keeping schools open in the evenings.  Every day the BOE sends out 600 buses at a cost of $49 million/year.  If we re-instituted neighborhood elementary schools citywide we could cut busing costs in half and use those monies to pay increased teacher’s salaries to buy extended school days and a longer school year.  I’m sure the State would allow the re-allocation of monies for that purpose.

The simple observation that the re-election of the weak, incompetent and complicit members of the Board is supported by union leaders illustrates that those Board members don’t have a clue of the importance of remaining at arm’s length, not conflicted in their representation of the citizens and children of Buffalo in what should be an adversarial relationship with the union leaders.

When Phil Rumore can’t get his own membership to engage in Board election issues, and finds it necessary to import 300 or more outsiders to circulate petitions and campaign for his chosen candidates, it is perfectly clear that he is not supported by active teachers. He obviously hears the footsteps and the end of his era is near.

Mike Deely of New York State United teachers circulated a letter to the teachers of Buffalo Public schools and said “there has not been a better time to be a student in Buffalo Public Schools…great learning and teaching is happening in all those schools. Over 90%of our high school seniors have applied for college. We have also seen over 1600 new students enroll in our schools in the last year making Buffalo one of the only upstate cities that is growing in student population. . . demand is high for a seat in Buffalo school.  What planet is Mr. Deely from?  Does Mr. Deely really expect teachers to buy into an obvious set of lies and misstatements?

Attached are bullets of some of the other issues facing our schools today.