City school board conducts interviews with superintendent candidates
The Buffalo Board of Education met and interviewed candidates applying for the superintendent job Tuesday. The board met behind closed doors most of the day after gathering in special session. Meanwhile, WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says members of the community continue to pressure the board to remain transparent in the search for a new superintendent.
School board members headed into executive session after 9 a.m.Tuesday in the City Hall boardroom.
"We were just told that as they get down to the last few candidates -- they will go public with that and present them to the public, and we are going to hold them accountable to that," stated Kristin Mendoza, co-chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization.
But not all board members were in attendance at the start of the session. Majority members Jay McCarthy, Larry Quinn and Carl Paladino were not in the room.
Several members of the public arrived at the start of the session calling on the board to conduct a fair and open search for the next superintendent.
Kristine Mendoza is a city school parent and Buffalo teacher and co-chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization. Mendoza said the public needs to be a part of the search process.
"We were just told that as they get down to the last few candidates -- they will go public with that and present them to the public, and we are going to hold them accountable to that," stated Mendoza. "All we wanted from the beginning was to have a thorough search. We want somebody who's going to be able to united teachers and parents and really do what's right for our kids. Our intention is just to be heard."
Members of Citizen Action and the Alliance for Quality Education posted a number of protest signs outside the board room. One stated: "Fire Carl, Not Teachers."
Elisa Schrieber, who represents the Native American Community and is a member of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, accuses the board's majority of conducting the process in secret.
"Five people in there ignore the other four and think they can go ahead and do what they want. Those five people have done exactly what the state wants in order to achieve receivership which is to establish an environment of confusion and chaos," said Schrieber.
School board members ended their session late Tuesday afternoon but would not talk about their work. Board President James Sampson said they are not allowed to discuss the interviews, but he says at some point the board will identify the finalists and hold a public session to introduce them.