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Board members disagree on superintendent process

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The Buffalo School Board showed Wednesday that its members don't share the same view when trying to decide what to do about the impending departure of Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown.

The board spent more than an hour in a special meeting, only to decide there has to be more discussion. Board members have mounting issues. It's unclear when the superintendent will leave the district. Brown missed the meeting while out-of-town dealing with the death of her sister. 

Meanwhile, lawyer Karl Kristoff says state law requires the district designate a person to serve as superintendent. 

It's possible that the district will have three successive superintendents: an "acting" superintendent until June 30; an "interim" superintendent for a year or two; and, eventually, a permanent superintendent.

Normally, the post would shift to the deputy superintendent but Mary Guinn's contract expires June 30.

Board Member Sharon Belton Cottman raised several issues while addressing fellow Board Member Carl Paladino.

"Can they pull summer school off? Can they pull school out in September? It needs to be about what is best for the children," Belton Cottman said.

"Unfortunately, the children who you represent, they've been doing pretty good. The children who I'm trying to represent are the ones who have not been doing well and they need all the support they can get."

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
Carl Paladino was criticized Wednesday by fellow Board Member Sharon Belton Cottman.

Much of the meeting was along that line, with little agreement on anything.

If the superintendent replacement comes from inside the district, it has to go to someone with a state certification. There may be 200 people inside the system who have that certification.

Many board members are seeking to promote a superintendent from inside the district who would understand the culture of the school system.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.