The Paladino Letters, Episode 83

Carl announces his Board of Elections agenda

Subject: Other matters and Amendments, deletions and additions to the Carl P. Paladino Agenda of July 3, 2013

1.) Re: Agenda issue #32. Motion # 17. The use of small group mini-meetings, whether they are called working meetings or otherwise, is highly unethical and improper. Such meetings are carefully structured to avoid the letter of the Sunshine Law. They avoid public scrutiny and judgment as to the motivation, discussion, deliberation and decision making of BOE members without the opportunity for any public input.

How are the constituencies of the BPS to judge their representative members’ actions? It is an abuse of public office. It is insulting and demeaning to the BPS. Respectable holders of the public trust don’t scheme, lie, fabricate and spin their BOE responsibilities. It is absurd to think there is nothing wrong with holding secret meetings and denying transparency. It is probably the reason members couldn’t remember to actually finish the Superintendent’s evaluation before approving it. They obviously can’t remember what was done in secret meetings and what was done in public.

The actual reason for such mini meetings is to allow certain members of the BOE to communicate with the administration who should get jobs, transfers, pay increases, which contractors are to be favored, which students should be given special considerations for enrollments, etc. It’s where the dirty work is done.

The business of the BOE must only be conducted in regularly scheduled or special public meetings on notice. Confidential matters will be addressed in executive session. I will make a motion at the July 10, meeting “that the use of secret, small group or mini meetings of BOE members to conduct any business of the BOE will be stopped immediately.”

2.). Re: Agenda Issue #2. In the CPP Agenda of July 3, 2013, I mistakenly stated at Issue #2, first paragraph that Champ Eve was present at the BOE mini meeting. My information was wrong. Mr. Eve was not there. My apologies to Mr. Eve.

3.). Re: Issue # 33; Motion # 19. BOE meetings for years have been anything but effective, efficient sessions.The BOE must publicly focus on issues critical to the remediation and reformation of the BPS which suffers from extreme dysfunction. Such issues are only rarely discussed and by the time the agenda gets to them, those with limited attention spans are yawning and catatonic. The first hour and a half of a typical BOE meeting is devoted to unprofessional feel good fluff which should be conducted at another special meeting. Meeting agendas must be re-structured.

I will make a motion at the July 10, 2013 meeting that “BOE meeting agendas shall be all business matters including committee reports, a public section to allow public input and response, other business matters and a Superintendent report with the opportunity for a Q&A session.” The BOE has recently and historically abused the use of executive session. Please instruct counsel to distribute at the July 10 meeting a copy of the law and summary of what business is required to be conducted in executive session and what business is to be conducted in open session.

The BOE plans to have only 1 more meeting during the summer on August 21 is insufficient, considering the extreme and chaotic distress of the BPS in so many respects. Given the graduation rate, the lack of an approvable reorganization plan, the lack of compliance with the APPR, the lack of compliance with the No Child Left Behind Laws, etc., it is imperative that the BOE continue its by-weekly meetings.

4.). Re: Agenda issue #4. Motion #1. The Buffalo City School District By-Laws under Meetings of the Board of Education, section 1510, at paragraph 7, states that “No committee, nor the entire Board, will act, study, or decide upon an issue unless the supporting documentation has been freely available to all Board members at least 48 hours in advance of the above mentioned action.” The approval of the Superintendent’s evaluation was improper and illegal. Mr. Kristoff and Mr. Petrino were present at the Board meeting and knew or should have known this fact and failed to raise it.

5.) Re: Issue #34. Motion #20. Improper enrollments in “Test Schools.” Everyone in the administration is aware (but the public does not know) 8 that the BPS Test schools whose admissions are supposed to be strictly limited to City of Buffalo resident high achievers, in fact have enrolled not only Buffalo students who did not meet the criteria but also non-residents of the city who falsify applications using the City address of relatives and friends.

Apparently the administration has knowingly allowed this abuse to continue for years giving certain families the special privilege of sending their non-accelerated children to “Test” schools which have maxed out enrollments to the detriment of children who would otherwise qualify but for lack of space are compelled to attend failing mainstream schools.

The simple fact that suburban students, are recklessly enrolled in BPS Test schools and getting a free education, denying a slot for a Buffalo resident is abhorrent. One can only assume that these practices would not exist except for approval at the highest levels of the administration and the BOE. Irequest that the BPS administrator responsible for enrollments be made available at the July 10,21013 meeting to discuss this matter.

6.) Re: Issue #11, Motion #3. With reference to my motion on outsourcing priority schools I mistakenly referred to “converting the schools to Regents Approved Charter Schools.” I intended to refer to “close and restart” as used in NCLB under the restart model for school turnaround with the lease of buildings from the BOE and I so modify my motion.

7.). Re: Issue #3. Reorganization Plan. The plan introduced last week and prepared by the “Say Yes” and other consultants appears, on its face, to be designed to actually put staff closer to the student and should be applauded. The bad part of it is that when it was presented to the Administration and certain BOE members, they interfered and dictated that certain administrators had to be kept on the payroll even though they were not competent, not only for the position they were in, but also for the new position proposed. The plan was then skewered to keep existing staff who should have been discharged and hire new people for the new positions, some of whom were wired in and others who were competent to perform. It is typical that the Superintendent could not describe the supposed $1 million budget savings. Like the BOE members who support her, she tends to fabricate, make stuff up, lie and try to rewrite history. This is exactly why the BPS and BOE are dysfunctional. There is always a back story.

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