By Jill Terreri
Sergio Rodriguez, who waged a campaign against Mayor Byron Brown this fall, announced today that he will seek a seat on the Buffalo Board of Education.
Rodriguez, a South Buffalo resident, will run for one of three at-large seats that will be up for election in May. The seats are currently held by Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold and Board Members Florence Johnson and John Licata.
Rodriguez had campaigned on a promise that he would seek a full mayoral takeover of the school district, and said during a chilly Niagara Square news conference today that running for the school board was a natural fit.
But is running for the board a contradiction, given his position this fall that the mayor should have the power to appoint school board members?
Rodriguez said the district still needs a board, regardless of how members secure their seats, and said when he ran for mayor, he campaigned on making school board seats full time, with a higher salary.
"If our current mayor wanted to seek mayoral control, I would not stand in the way of that," he said.
He has met with Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore and other school board members to prepare for his latest campaign, he said. He also said Superintendent Pamela Brown "walked in to an already dysfunctional situation."
"I intend to work with the superintendent," he said.
He plans to focus on greater parental involvement, boosting student attendance rates and preparing students for the workforce.
"We will do this by cooperating and collaborating with people, working with people, rather than against them," he said.
In the mayoral race, Rodriguez won 30 percent of the vote in the general election, appearing on the Republican line, and the Progressive line, which he created.
Rodriguez's Republican affiliation did not help him running in the overwhelmingly Democratic city, and noted that school board candidates do not run with political affiliations.