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School board to vote on new leader

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo School Board is expected to vote on new leader for city schools Tuesday.  The school board will meet in special session at noon at City Hall to vote on Dr. Kriner Cash as the next superintendent. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says pending a waiver on certification, Cash should be ready to led the district before the new school year begins.

"Everything that I do will be focused on children. Focused on what it is best for children. I have no other agendas," stated Dr. Cash while appearing late last week in Buffalo at a public session to meet the community. 

The former Memphis City School leader received a favorable response from those attending, including the leader of the city teachers union. Buffalo Teachers Federation Phil Rumore had a brief introduction with Cash following the session.  

The teachers union remains locked in a battle against the school district over a contract, arguing that the district has 'bargained in bad faith'. 

Rumore joked about being kept away from Cash, but he said he looks forward to working with him.

"It was just brief. There were so many people around," said Rumore "He didn't run away or anything like that. I look forward to working with him. He did very well with the audience."

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Dr. Kriner Cash meets BTF President Phil Rumore.

When the school board convenes they are expected to approve a contract to hire Cash, which some insiders are claiming could be costly for the district.  

Then the board will call on the state education department to approve certification for Cash.

"I think he will make a difference because it's a fresh look at the city," said Catherine Collins, State Regent for the Buffalo region.

Catherine Collins tells WBFO it's a waiver, a formality, to allow Cash to work in the state. "I'm sure they have probably already taken care of that," said Collins. "It wouldn't be an issue for me as the Regent and I'm sure that the Commissioner knew probably that he did not all of everything he may need in terms of certification."

"So I'm hoping that the school board is going to be  able to put a lot of things aside that has distracted them on working for behalf of the kids," Collins said. 

Cash left the Memphis City School District in 2013 after stepping down following a merger of school districts.  He is not without controversy. While working in the Miami Dade district, one his former administrators was paid $1,500 a day to consult for low-performing schools. Jeffrey Hernandez was then caught sending text messages to an underage girl.

In 2006 reports indicate that Cash was reprimanded for a comment he made back allegedly telling one of his employees to shave his beard because he resembled a terrorist.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Dr. Kriner Cash spoke with community members while in Buffalo.

When Cash appeared in Buffalo for his public meeting, WBFO News asked him about the number of superintendent positions he has applied for since leaving Memphis. He was a finalist for several other superintendent posts, but never selected. 

“Because the issue of going into superintendent searches in this country, at this time, it’s a complex issue. I don’t look at it as a negative not to be selected,” responded Cash. "It is not always because you were not the best qualified candidate."

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