March 12, 2013
The following is a Bucket List of “to do” items for the present Board of Education (BOE) to prepare for the new Board to be seated July 1, 2013.
1). Have staff formulate a plan to re-implement, for September, 2013, neighborhood (community) schools for primary education. This will radically downsize the city busing program to minimize the current bus culture which wastes up to three hours of a student’s day in the numbing horror of riding on a bus, time that could be better spent studying and conducting physical activity during an expanded teaching day and year.
2). Publicly notify parents of children who actually reside in the suburbs but are fraudulently using a Buffalo address (whether they own the property or list the address of a friend or relative) to register their child in a City public school, that fraud is a crime and unless they actually move into the city, they should immediately withdraw their child from the City system or they will be publicly embarrassed and possibly prosecuted. Apparently the motivation of wealthy suburban parents is to secure a “Say Yes” college scholarship for their child thus depriving a deserving actual City resident of the opportunity. Any complicit administrative staff and principals who participate or look the other way in allowing such illegal registrations should be fired.
3). Direct the Superintendent to immediately release the unedited report of the distinguished scholar Dr. Judy Elliott, which was promised a month ago. The report was apparently delivered to the Superintendent and State Commissioner John King and should have been published. The Superintendent apparently didn’t like the content and complained to Commissioner King. The Superintendent should not have any say in the content of the report which basically is an objective review of her performance and that of the district. These circumstances demand immediate transparency so as to allow an informed vote in the coming Board election. The intent in commissioning Ms. Elliott was to obtain an objective analyses of the condition of our public schools for disclosure to the residents so that proper remediation could be initiated and addressed. Delaying publication until after the Board election and thereby hiding an objective report from public view illustrates once again the deplorable incompetence of the Board and the District leadership. Such behavior is unacceptable to the people of Buffalo and will not be tolerated.
4). The New York State Education Law requires full and absolute disclosure of the campaign receipts and expenditures of all Board candidates which filings are required to be submitted to the Chief of Staff of the Board. The Chief of Staff historically has not published the past filings which should be published on the Board’s Website immediately obviating the requirement to FOIL such information. The Chief of Staff must also be directed to immediately publish the names of Board members who have not timely filed statements as required by law.
5). Historically the BOE has failed to disclose to the community the violent out of control level of behavior by students in our public schools. By covering up and hiding the systemic problem, the Board has allowed an unsafe atmosphere for students, creating instead a culture of fear among students and parents, condoning and nurturing disobedience and failing to establish consequences, accountability and responsibility from students. Teachers, administrators, security personnel and Buffalo Police appear to have been co-opted in the coverup. The BOE must immediately order a comprehensive report for public disclosure from the BOEs head of security and the Buffalo Police Department Schools Division Chief that includes the following: a). The number of on duty and off duty police and other security personnel deployed to each school daily, b). the costs associated with the deployment, and c). a comprehensive description of all school incidents of misbehavior including those that could otherwise be described as criminal in nature and whether or not criminal charges were brought.
6). The BOE must demand that the Superintendent comply with State and Federal requirements for teacher and principal evaluations which are currently 5 months late.
7). The BOE should pass a resolution that the song “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty be adopted as the official theme song of the district.