Buffalo Public Schools, New York
|Buffalo Public Schools|
|Erie County, New York|
|Superintendent:||Will Keresztes (interim)|
|Number of schools:||58|
|Website:||School Home Page|
|Board of Education|
|Board president:||Barbara Seals Nevergold|
|Term length:||3 or 5|
- 1 About the district
- 2 Superintendent
- 3 School board
- 4 Budget
- 5 Teacher salaries
- 6 Schools in Buffalo Public Schools
- 7 Academic performance
- 8 Issues
- 9 Contact information
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
- See also: Issues in Buffalo Public Schools
About the districtErie County, New York. The county seat of Erie County is Buffalo. Erie County is home to 919,086 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Buffalo underperformed in comparison to the rest of New York in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 23.4 percent of Buffalo residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 32.8 percent for New York as a whole. The median household income in Buffalo was $30,502 compared to $57,683 for the state of New York. The poverty rate in Buffalo was 30.1 percent compared to 14.9 percent for the entire state.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.
The interim superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools is Will Keresztes. Former Superintendent Pamela Brown announced her resignation shortly after the May 2014 school board election, which resulted in the board faction who opposed her winning a governing majority. The Buffalo Board of Education voted 7-2 to accept her resignation on June 16, 2014, and agreed to pay her a year's salary and other compensation that totaled up to $238,667. The school board appointed a district administrator, Will Keresztes, to the position of interim superintendent while the board conducts a hiring search for Brown's replacement.
- See also: Superintendent Pamela Brown controversy
- See also: Board infighting
Buffalo Public Schools is overseen by a nine-member board. Three members are elected at-large to five-year terms and the other six members are elected by geographic electoral district to three-year terms.
The Buffalo Board of Education has two competing factions vying for control of the school district. Prior to former Superintendent Pamela Brown's resignation, she was the primary point of contention between the factions. The faction that supported Brown consisted of Barbara Seals Nevergold, Florence Johnson, Theresa Harris-Tigg, Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Sharon Belton-Cottman. The faction that opposed Brown included Carl P. Paladino, John Licata, Jason M. McCarthy and James M. Sampson. John Licata lost and Florence Johnson did not run in the May 2014 school board election. Although Barbara Seals Nevergold won re-election, both of the other seats were won by members of the opposing faction, which now has control of the school district.
|Buffalo Board of Education|
|Barbara Seals Nevergold||At-large||2019|
|Patricia B. Pierce||At-large||2019|
|Jason M. McCarthy||North||2016|
|Mary Ruth Kapsiak||Central||2016|
|James M. Sampson||West||2016|
|Carl P. Paladino||Park||2016|
School board elections
- See also: Buffalo Public Schools elections (2014)
Members of the Buffalo Board of Education are elected to three-year or five-year terms, depending on the type of seat they hold. Three at-large seats were up for election in 2014 and six district seats will be up for election in 2016.
Public participation in board meetings
The Buffalo Board of Education maintains the following policy on public testimony during board meetings:
|“||The Board welcomes speakers to sign up to speak at all board meetings. Please be reminded that all speakers’ remarks must be limited to three minutes or less. We ask that speakers be mindful that this is a business meeting, open to the public and televised locally. Attendees and viewers include persons from throughout Western New York, including children.
This Board asks that speakers conduct themselves professionally and that their comments remain civil and courteous, bearing in mind that they will be heard by people of all ages. This is an opportunity for Buffalo’s residents to address the BBOE about issues that serve the public interest and District mission, and the Board asks that speakers demonstrate appropriate decorum.
Before the Meeting
At the Meeting
—Buffalo Public Schools website, (2014), 
The table below displays the budget for Buffalo Public Schools:
|Expenditures by Category|
|School Year||Staff Expenses||Student Services||Operational Expenses||Debt Service||Other||Budget Total|
|Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget|
Buffalo Public Schools employed 2,882 K-12 teachers during the 2012-2013 school year. Teacher salaries are categorized based on higher education achievement, professional development and years of service. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate courses with raises at credit intervals. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries.
The district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation have not come to an agreement on a new salary schedule since the 2003-2004 school year. The New York state Public Employment Relations Board is mediating the negotiations in an attempt to resolve the deadlock. The following table details the salary schedule negotiated between the district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation for 2003-2004:
|Degree level||Minimum salary ($)||Maximum salary ($)|
|B.S. + 10||33,900||69,360|
|B.S. + 20||34,903||70,363|
|B.S. + 30||35,906||71,366|
|B.S. + 40||36,909||74,014|
|B.S. + 50||37,912||75,017|
|B.S. + 60||38,915||76,020|
|MS + 10||38,555||75,660|
|MS + 20||39,558||76,663|
|MS + 30||40,561||77,666|
Schools in Buffalo Public Schools
Buffalo Public Schools served 32,723 students during the 2011-2012 school year. Buffalo Public Schools does not publicly archive enrollment data.
Buffalo Public Schools operates 58 schools listed below in numerical order:
|Buffalo Public Schools|
|Adult Education Center|
|PS 3 D’Youville Porter Campus School|
|PS 6 Buffalo Elementary School of Technology|
|PS 17 Early Childhood Center|
|PS 18 Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence|
|PS 19 Native American Magnet School|
|PS 27 Hillery Park Elementary|
|PS 30 Frank A. Sedita Academy|
|PS 31 Harriet Ross Tubman School|
|PS 32 Bennett Park Montessori|
|PS 33 Bilingual Center|
|PS 37 Marva J. Daniel Futures Preparatory School|
|PS 39 Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute|
|PS 42 Occupational Training Center|
|PS 43 Lovejoy Discovery School|
|PS 45 International School|
|PS 53 Community School|
|PS 54 Dr. George E. Blackman School of Excellence ECC|
|PS 59 Dr. Charles R. Drew Science|
|PS 61 Early Childhood Center|
|PS 64 Frederick Law Olmsted|
|PS 65 Roosevelt ECC|
|PS 66 North Park Middle Academy|
|PS 67 Discovery School|
|PS 69 Houghton Academy|
|PS 72 Lorraine Elementary|
|PS 74 Hamlin Park School|
|PS 76 Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy|
|PS 79 Pfc. William J. Grabiarz School of Excellence|
|PS 80 Highgate Heights|
|PS 81 School|
|PS 82 Early Childhood Center|
|PS 84 Health Care Center for Children at ECMC|
|PS 89 Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence|
|PS 91 BUILD Academy|
|PS 93 Southside Elementary|
|PS 94 West Hertel Academy|
|PS 95 Waterfront Elementary School|
|PS 97 Harvey Austin School|
|PS 99 Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center|
|PS 131 STAR Academy@Grover|
|PS 156 Frederick Law Olmsted|
|PS 192 Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts|
|PS 195 City Honors School|
|PS 197 Math Science Technology Preparatory School|
|PS 198 The International Preparatory School|
|PS 200 Bennett High School|
|PS 204 Lafayette High School|
|PS 205 Riverside Institute of Technology|
|PS 206 South Park High School|
|PS 212 Leonardo daVinci High School|
|PS 301 Burgard High School|
|PS 302 Emerson School of Hospitality|
|PS 304 Hutchinson Central Technical High School|
|PS 305 McKinley High School|
|PS 307 East High School|
|PS 415 Middle Early College High School|
The New York State Education Department facilitates assessment of student performance throughout the state in English language arts and mathematics. These annual evaluations determine where students fit into the State Testing Program's standards for grades three through eight and high school. The following tables detail how the school district compared to state averages across grade cohorts in both categories, with percentages indicating students who reached Level 3 or higher on state tests.
The New York State Testing Program assesses student performance based on a four-point scale for each test category:
- Level 1: Below Standard: Student performance does not demonstrate an understanding of the academic discipline for a particular grade level.
- Level 2: Meets Basic Standard: Student performance demonstrates a partial understanding of the academic discipline for a particular grade level.
- Level 3: Meets Proficiency Standard: Student performance demonstrates an understanding of the academic discipline for a particular grade level.
- Level 4: Exceeds Proficiency Standard: Student performance demonstrates a thorough understanding of the academic discipline for a particular grade level.
Superintendent Pamela Brown controversy
Significant divisions arose within the Buffalo Board of Education since the election of former gubernatorial candidate and local businessman Carl P. Paladino in 2013. In that race, Paladino campaigned for the removal of incumbent board members and the dismissal of the district's top administrators, including Superintendent Pamela Brown. After joining the board, Paladino continued to call for Superintendent Brown's resignation or firing, stating that she was "obviously incapable." In September 2013, the board ruled in a 5-4 decision to keep the superintendent in place.
In May 2014, Superintendent Brown announced her intention to resign after her opponents on the board won a governing majority following the election of Larry Quinn and Patricia B. Pierce. The school voted 7-2 to accept her resignation on June 16, 2014. In exchange for her voluntary resignation, the district agreed to pay her a year's salary and other compensation that totaled up to $238,667. The school board appointed district administrator Will Keresztes to the position of interim superintendent while it conducts a hiring search for Brown's long-term replacement.
On October 23, 2013, board member Carl P. Paladino filed an unsuccessful motion to dismiss Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold from her leadership position. He later filed an appeal with the New York State Education Department and Commissioner of Education John King, claiming that she is unfit to meet the responsibilities of the position and stating that she had allowed board meeting participants to attack him verbally. Paladino then filed a second petition with Commissioner King, which argued that Nevergold's position on the board was illegitimate due to her not running for the seat in the May 2013 election after being appointed to the board. Board member John Licata made a successful resolution to hire legal counsel for Nevergold's defense. Local resident Joan Simmons filed a petition with the state agency requesting Paladino's removal from the board on the basis that he is disruptive and prevents the board from carrying out its duties.
On April 4, 2014, Commissioner King rejected both of Paladino's petitions "on procedural grounds" and due to a lack of evidence. However, Commissioner King's ruling on Paladino's second petition left open the possibility that Nevergold violated state law by not running for re-election in the May 2013 election. After hearing the decision, Paladino announced that he would pursue legal action against Nevergold in the New York State Supreme Court. On May 19, 2014, Erie County Supreme Court Judge Tracey A. Bannister rejected Paladino's argument on the grounds that Nevergold was only required by law to run in the first election following her appointment for the type of seat she held, an at-large seat. The 2014 election was the first election for at-large seats following her appointment. Judge Bannister also noted that the statute of limitations for the case had passed and that Paladino did not have the legal right to re-litigate a decision already made by Commissioner King.
Buffalo school board members have weighed in with a range of different opinions on the Common Core education reforms implemented in the school district. In October 2013, board member James Sampson wrote an opinion piece for The Buffalo News that defended the reforms and praised both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner of Education John King for resisting public pressure to delay or dismantle Common Core standards. Parents in Buffalo and neighboring school districts voiced concerns about both Common Core and policies that require students who opt-out from the program's standardized testing to sit and wait silently during the testing period with no other activities available to them.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown announced in February 2014 that he is considering taking control of Buffalo Public Schools. Brown refrained from taking a position on the issue of mayoral control during his 2013 bid for re-election, but suggested that the district's academic and financial struggles have made it clear that, "[...] the model that exists isn’t working, and people are looking for options and people are looking for hope." Until the 1970s, the Buffalo Board of Education was separated from the school district and appointed by the mayor. In later remarks, Mayor Brown emphasized that he would only pursue mayoral control of the district if the plan received significant community support. Replacing the elected board with an appointed board would require a change in state law by the New York State Legislature, which Mayor Brown has not formally requested.
In March 2013, consultant Mary Guinn and her firm, Cross and Joftus, were hired to provide leadership coaching to top district officials and to assist with the implementation of a central office reorganization plan. The initial three-month contract, which was paid with private grant money, also appointed Guinn to the temporary position of interim deputy superintendent. However, the district did not hire a permanent deputy superintendent and instead agreed to a one-year contract with Cross and Joftus at the additional cost of $432,000. Board members questioned the appropriateness of Guinn's contract and involvement with payroll, internal communications and leadership meetings. Guinn's firm cancelled the consulting contract on October 8, 2013 following board efforts to remove her from the position.
During the board's closed session meeting on February 26, 2014, Superintendent Brown recommended that the board hire Guinn to fill the deputy superintendent position. The board voted 5-3 to hire Guinn for a 90-day period, with board member Jason M. McCarthy absent from the meeting. An article from The Buffalo News journalist Tiffany Lankes indicated that Superintendent Brown may have intended since Guinn's October 2013 departure to bring her back to fill the position, despite Brown denying such rumors at the time. Guinn applied with the New York State Education Department for the credentials necessary to fill the position on October 16, 2013, which she received on February 14, 2014. An official with HealthNow, which managed the district's deputy superintendent candidate search, stated that the organization felt "a level of frustration" with the district's involvement in the process and concluded its search after, "[...] it became apparent that the way we had approached the search was not needed."
Following Guinn's appointment, several board members voiced their displeasure with the decision. McCarthy stated that he would have voted against her appointment if he were present at the meeting. He added that he felt Superintendent Brown's unexpected request and the board vote were purposefully conducted in his absence in order to ensure Guinn's appointment. During interviews with The Buffalo News, board members James Sampson and Carl P. Paladino denounced the vote as "disrespectful" and "sinful," respectively.
On March 18, 2014, two Buffalo district administrators hired by Superintendent Brown were revealed to lack the necessary legal credentials to serve in their positions. Curriculum, assessment and instruction chief Yamilette Williams and school leadership chief Faith Morrison Alexander were both hired during the summer of 2013 with only conditional certificates to serve as school principals, not district administrators. District human resources administrator Darren J. Brown acknowledged that his office had failed to ensure that the two officials had obtained their proper certifications and stated that the school district faced legal liability issues as a result.
Superintendent Brown announced on March 20, 2014 that she had put both officials on unpaid leave, but board members Carl P. Paladino and John Licata insisted that neither Williams nor Alexander were actually still employed by the district due to the violation of their contracts. Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold placed the blame for the oversight on the district's human resources department and indicated that she was misled regarding their certifications. On March 25, 2014, Paladino announced that he had located additional district officials who lacked the necessary credentials for their positions at the time of their hiring, including Bennett High School Principal Terry Ross and Education Partnership Organization Superintendent Tamara Branch.
Superintendent Brown attempted to retain Yamilette Williams and Faith Morrison Alexander as interns at an annual salary of $130,000 each, but the school board rejected her proposal and voted unanimously to fire both officials on April 2, 2014. Following the vote, Brown denied knowing that either administrator had lacked the proper credentials for their position, arguing, "At the time they were hired, it was my understanding that whatever they needed to have in order to take those positions, that they had it. It did not come to my attention that they did not have the proper certification until just recently."
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- Data NYSED, "School Report Card Data [2012 - 13," accessed June 17, 2014]
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Erie County, New York," accessed March 26, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Buffalo (city), New York," accessed March 26, 2014
- New York State Board of Elections, "NYS Voter Enrollment by County, Party Affiliation and Status - Voters Registered as of November 01, 2013," accessed March 26, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Incoming School Board majority wants search for interim superintendent to begin ‘immediately’," June 3, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Brown is out; Keresztes named interim superintendent for Buffalo schools," June 16, 2014
- Time Warner Cable News, "Buffalo School Board Makes Superintendent's Resignation Official," June 16, 2014
- Buffalo Public Schools, "Board of Education," accessed June 17, 2014
- Buffalo Public Schools, "Files and Documents," accessed April 16, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Meet the candidates," accessed April 29, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Buffalo Public Schools, "Public Participation," accessed June 17, 2014
- Buffalo Public Schools, "Finance," accessed December 3, 2013
- Buffalo Teachers Federation, "Memo To: Ronald Kowalski, PERB Fact-Finder," June 9, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "BTF says mediator’s proposal on contract favors Buffalo school district," August 22, 2013
- Buffalo Public Schools, "2003-04 BTF Teacher's Salary Schedule," January 26, 2004
- Buffalo Public Schools, "Our Schools," accessed June 17, 2014
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino to launch major push to remove school board incumbents," January 24, 2013
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino wins, vows to shake up school district," May 8, 2013
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Seeking changes, Paladino takes school board seat," July 10, 2013
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Board votes to keep Superintendent Brown," September 26, 2013
- WKBW - ABC 7, "Buffalo Board of Education Member Wants President Nevergold Out," November 9, 2013
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Buffalo District hires lawyer for school board president," November 21, 2013
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino faces action seeking his removal from school board," January 16, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Commissioner King's ruling on Paladino's petition to oust Nevergold," April 5, 2014
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- The Buffalo News, "The written ruling dismissing Paladino's bid to unseat Nevergold," May 20, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Another Voice: Education commissioner has it right on Common Core standards," October 29, 2013
- The Buffalo News, "Why should kids just ‘sit and stare’? as parents, school officials debate Common Core testing," March 18, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Mayor considers taking control of Buffalo school district," February 26, 2014
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Cite error: Invalid
- The Buffalo News, "Fate of consultant in Buffalo School Board’s hands as her compensation, authority are questioned," September 24, 2013
- The Buffalo News, "Seed sown last fall for Guinn to be rehired by school district, state records show," March 6, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Guinn’s hiring expected to create more divisiveness on School Board," February 27, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Board members call Guinn's appointment "deceptive," "disrespectful" and "sinful"," February 28, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Two top Buffalo school district officials lack state certifications," March 19, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Uncertified Buffalo school administrators no longer employed by district," March 22, 2014
- WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino uncovers more school district employees without proper credentials," March 25, 2014
- The Buffalo News, "Buffalo School Board votes overwhelmingly to fire 2 top administrators," April 3, 2014