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Brown's opponents hear a political tune

By Jill Terreri

The timing of Mayor Byron Brown's announcement that the city will spend $400,000 to fund band and orchestra programs that had been cut in 14 public schools raised a few eyebrows. He explained at his big announcement yesterday, complete with children playing instruments, that he had been at work on a solution for a month and a half. Whatever the reason, the announcement was made one month before the Democratic primary, where he will face former FBI Special Agent in Charge Bernie Tolbert.

Tolbert pointed out that on the subject of the school district, Brown frequently notes that he has no governance over it. 

“Yet now, in the midst of the  campaign to elect the Mayor of Buffalo and twenty four hours before the first debate in the campaign, Mayor Brown miraculously finds the power to leverage $400,000 from somewhere in the city’s general fund to restore music programs in some of the city schools?," Tolbert said in a statement. "So as the Buffalo Public School System struggle with issues of declining student proficiency and a rising number of failing schools, the mayor finally decides to step forward to help bring music to some of the schools?  That’s not leadership.”

Republican Sergio Rodriguez was critical of Brown, too. "This is simply a last-minute election year attempt by the mayor to create the impression that he has somehow been involved in our children's education," he said.

One caveat to that announcement yesterday. Though Brown said all 14 schools that expected cuts in their music programs would see some restorations, information from the district shows otherwise.

My colleage Sandra Tan reports on her blog today that both Riverside and Bennett high schools will not see their programs restored, though "further tweaks" by the district are possible.  

tagged

Bernie Tolbert | Byron Brown | education | Elections | Mayoral Race 2013 | Sergio Rodriguez
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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