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Paladino's latest effort to remove the school board president

Board member Carl Paladino's beef with Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold is well known. He routinely sends out mass emails criticizing her leadership and has repeatedly submitted motions calling for her removal as board president. The fact that no other member of the board sides with him in his endeavor to have the board leader removed has not deterred him.

His latest legal effort to unseat Nevergold, however, appears rather serious. It is his second petition to State Education Commissioner John King to have Nevergold removed from office and refers to a board policy that seems to indicate that Nevergold, an appointee, was required to run for election in May of this year but didn't.

Continue reading "Paladino's latest effort to remove the school board president " »

Schools in The News today

Here's a look at education coverage in The News today: 

  • The editorial board weighs in on discouraging reading and math scores by the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders. The board says the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows "an educational system badly in need of progress." 
  • A former elementary school in Little Valley could become a medical facility under a plan presented to the Cattaraugus County Legislature on Wednesday. 
  • My View contributor Carrie Carney writes that, despite advances in technology and social media, schools need to include courses on "daily fundamental life skills." 

DPCC seeks investigation into "criminal" misuse of funds

Parent activist Sam Radford is on a tear these days. With support from the District Parent Coordinating Council, Radford has sent out legal petitions seeking state and federal investigations into whether the Buffalo school district has essentially been criminally irresponsible in using millions in federal and state tax dollars to support Buffalo schools.

Continue reading "DPCC seeks investigation into "criminal" misuse of funds" »

Schools in The News today

Here's a look at The News' education coverage today:

  • Controversy continues to roil Hamburg, where 200 parents, community members and staffers cheered at the suggestion that a school board member resign from the Hamburg Central School Board during a meeting Wednesday.
  • The Buffalo School Board agreed to hire a lawyer Wednesday to defend board President Barbara Seals Nevergold against a petition for removal filed by fellow board member Carl Paladino.
  • A $3 million project to build a new gym at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart will move forward again, with the school working out a parking plan to appease the Town of Amherst.
  • Celebrity chef Marco Suarez stopped at Frontier High School on Wednesday as the school unveiled a new Alaskan Pollack fillet sandwich as part of an effort to add more nutritious foods to the school lunch menu.
  • Tonawanda City School District won't build a new music wing at the Tonawanda High/Middle School building, but will still incorporate new music rooms into a capital project that has been scaled back because of cost.

From The News' NeXt correspondents:

And in Letters to the Editor: 

Video: At Frontier High, a celebrity chef unveils a healthy helping

Celebrity Chef Marco Suarez visits Frontier High School to unveil a fish sandwich to students in the school's effort to promote healthy meals.

Live blog of Buffalo school board meeting Nov. 13

UPDATE: I see the Buffalo school district unbelievably redacted huge chunks of Carl Paladino's list of resolutions for tonight's meeting. Here is the unredacted version.

As noted in today's previous, extended blog post, tonight's regular Buffalo School Board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Waterfront Elementary School, 95 Fourth St., and includes many big topics. Board members are expected to raise the issue of Debra Sykes' resignation and discuss supporting the Teach for America program. Resolutions have also been submitted to defend Board President Barbara Nevergold from board member Carl Paladino's request to the state commissioner that she be removed from office, and to bring the district into compliance with state mandated health and physical education requirements.

The full agenda is available on the Buffalo City Schools website. Board member resolutions are tacked on to the very end of the board packet.

-- Sandra Tan

Schools in The News today

Here's a look at education stories in The News today:

  • The president of the Hamburg school board urged his colleagues to "stop this war" and end what he called a "crazy witch hunt" that has divided the board for months.
  • A Buffalo school administrator who was ousted last week said she doesn't know why Superintendent Pamela Brown sought her removal last week, but was ready to go. Meanwhile, state representatives said concerns raised last week about instruction at Lafayette and Bennett high schools were "not the responsibility of one person."
  • The first class of Say Yes Buffalo Public School graduates are in college, and more than half of those eligible for the scholarship program are attending a partnering college and receiving fully covered tuition benefits.
  • Enrollment at Williamsville Central Schools will continue to fall over the next five years, but the high schools will see more students as several large middle school classes move up.
  • The fate of three Cheektowaga Central High School teachers who police say communicated with a student jailed on manslaughter charges remains unresolved.

Sykes to come up at tonight's Buffalo School Board meeting

Tonight's regular Buffalo School Board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Waterfront Elementary School and it appears the board will have much to discuss. Check back later tonight for the live blog.

Board member Carl Paladino said he wants to publicly discuss the resignation of administrator Debra Sykes, which The News has written about each of the last two days. The board typically meets in closed session to discuss such matters, so it will be interesting to see whether he has any success getting the board to openly discuss any aspect of her resignation.

Sykes said Tuesday that she has had an opportunity to retire from the district three years ago and thought about it again last summer. She passed up those opportunities, she said, because after years of working directly with tough kids in troubled schools, she thought she could spend the next few years doing greater good for students in her current administrative position.

"Ha, ha," she said.

Continue reading "Sykes to come up at tonight's Buffalo School Board meeting" »

A look at the 2013 Say Yes scholars

Many believe Say Yes Buffalo could help transform the beleaguered Buffalo Public Schools, but that kind of transformation is clearly not going to happen overnight.

While many Buffalo public school graduates in the Class of 2013 applied for college tuition assistance through Say Yes, some were ineligible, and some didn't make use of the assistance they were eligible for. But Say Yes was successful in leveraging a limited amount of private investment into a more than $7 million in state and federal tuition grants.

Continue reading "A look at the 2013 Say Yes scholars" »

Is Sykes' resignation due to poor performance or politics?

Now that's a question hard to answer directly. Certainly, it's not like Superintendent Pamela Brown issued a press release saying, "Hey, I made Sykes resign and here's why."

According to board member Carl Paladino, Debra S. Sykes was pushed out of the district because she recently inquired with an HR manager about the status of her harassment complaint against the district's former (and controversial) consultant Mary Guinn. Since Brown has expressed an interest in bringing Guinn back to the school district in some form, he said Sykes paid the price for pursuing her harassment complaint.

But not everyone agrees with that explanation.

Continue reading "Is Sykes' resignation due to poor performance or politics?" »

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |