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Buffalo School Board's travel and munchie budget

Buffalo school board members work long hours for little pay.

Some say it's entirely reasonable to provide them with dinner and snacks for their meetings. A number of board members come to meetings directly from work, without stopping for dinner, and the meetings can last until 9 or 10 p.m.

And, some say, traveling to conferences helps make the district stronger, because board members are exposed to new and better ways to teach children.

So $100,000 over a year and a half is money well spent, they say.

"I think with a billion-dollar budget, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the overall expenditures we have to deal with," Superintendent James A. Williams said.

Others, though, say it's not the dollar amount that's at issue — it's the principle.

"I don't think it's the best use of our money," board member Louis Petrucci said. "It just sticks in my craw that someone's feeding me food when we're discussing budget deficits and layoffs. You lead by example."

Should the board scale back on its spending, as other school boards have? Should it stay on course?

Or should it spend even more, as Williams suggests, so that more board members can travel outside the area?

— Mary Pasciak

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