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Pridgen believes education department could be poised to take over city schools

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

A former Buffalo Board of Education member believes the state is poised to take over the city school district. WBFO's Eileen Buckley talked with Ellicott District Common Council member Rev. Darius Pridgen about the ongoing crisis as new school year begins for city students Thursday.

"I do believe, personally, that the state is putting themselves in position to take over," said Pridgen.

However, Pridgen tells WBFO News he does not believe the State Education Department should take over the school district.  

Pridgen avoided any criticism toward schools Superintendent Pamela Brown. Pridgen says he thinks she needs more time to be effective.

"The superintendent is brand new to this job. Rome was not built in a day and I think to expect a brand new superintendent to turn everything around in just 12 months is unconscionable," said Pridgen.

Pridgen said as a former board of education member, he never agreed to any involvement or input by the Mayor. But now that Pridgen is a city lawmaker, he says he is seeing a different side.

"Now being on the Common Council and seeing the majority of the city's budget go to the Board of Education, I think differently now, and I think that if we had some input that meant something, it would be important. The mayor is blamed, just like the Common Council is blamed, for some of the problems in education. However, legally, we have no place in the board of education," said Pridgen.

Pridgen does not believe enough emphasis has been placed on education in Buffalo as it is in other suburban school districts. 

He said he hopes parents are frustrated enough this school year to help move the district in a "positive direction."