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Walter not supporting bill on mayoral control of city schools

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

With less than two weeks remaining in the state legislative session, State Assemblyman Ray Walter says the proposal for mayoral appointment of the Buffalo school board should be pushed to the side. He's more focused on measures like extending the property tax cap.

During a news conference in his Williamsville office Thursday, Walter says Mayor Brown isn't pushing the issue while New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has pushed hard to extend his control of schools.
"There (New York City) the members wanted it. The mayor wanted it. This is something that they have been doing for years," Walter said.

Walter says that bill has already been passed in the Assembly so it likely won't be amended in some way to add Buffalo to the mayoral appointment list. That proposal would mean an appointed school board would be surrounded by suburban districts with elected members and annual budget votes.

"This is not the time and this is not the right bill that has been introduced to address mayoral control (of Buffalo schools)," Walter said. 

"Giving the mayor the ability power to appoint the school board members and remove the current publicly-elected board completely takes the democratic process away from the people."

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.