© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ogilvie approved as interim superintendent

Mike Desmond / WBFO

The new majority on the Buffalo Public School Board went into special meeting Wednesday afternoon with the five votes needed to make Donald Ogilvie, former Erie 1 BOCES superintendent, the interim city schools superintendent. After two nasty hours of discussion, his appointment was approved.
The meeting reflected the tensions and the anger that had developed over the last couple of years. The new school board majority includes three members who had been in the minority until July 1. When that majority made it clear before the meeting that Ogilvie would be selected, without any postings of the job or interviews with other candidates, the new minority became angry.

The majority approved Ogilvie by a 5-0 vote, with the four board members who opposed the appointment abstaining. They did, however, express their anger over their lack of input in the choice, and because Ogilvie had not been vetted by the community and doesn't have enough experience in urban education.

One of those members, former board president and retired district administrator Mary Ruth Kapsiak, says it's not clear Ogilvie is the best choice.

"We have the children at stake here," she said. "We don't know who is the best candidate if we are not allowed to have the postings done, have people apply. This is more dictatorship and I don't think that's how the board runs," said Kapsiak.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO
Interim superintendent Donald Ogilvie.

Ogilvie's contract lets him hold the job for up to two years; he told reporters he is not seeking a permanent appointment.

Ogilvie will receive an annual salary of $217,500, the same as ousted Superintendent Pamela Brown, though he will get substantially fewer benefits. He says that's a slight increase from his salary as district superintendent for Erie 1 BOCES. He recently filed for retirement from that position.

Ogilvie says he doesn't have a lot of time to make changes with the opening of school coming, although he will appoint a chief academic officer, and probably a deputy superintendent.

"I have an organization chart and I think that there are job descriptions to go with each of those," he said. "My biggest concern is: Have we in place the level of skill and experience needed to ensure that effective instruction is taking place?", said Ogilvie.

Board Member Carl Paladino, considered the leader of the new majority, says there are serious questions about the accuracy of data showing better attendance and higher graduation rates in the district.

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.
Related Content