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Buffalo schools rethinking cost of consultants

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo Public Schools Board has a long history of long fights over the ranks of consultants it hires for various projects -  sometimes fights over a few thousand dollars or whether the consultant is from out of town. Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash is looking at the millions of dollars involved and calling for a rethink.
The district has had some problems getting its budget together for next year, although those problems may be worked out Wednesday. One area the superintendent has cited is consultants.

How much they cost is a little obscured in the budget because around two-thirds come from the separate Title One budget - perhaps $25 million of the approximately $34 million in consultant projects.

Cash said he has been studying the projects, hoping to squeeze out money to be spent in the classroom. "I'm mining through all of these different vendors, trying to get the ones with the highest value, the highest impact, best cost for students," he said.

There also is the issue of how many of the consultants come to town at great expense and then head back to wherever they are headquartered. That has long been an issue for Board Member Carl Paladino.

"The senior vice president to come in an annual visit, $13, 200. I just can't believe that we continue to do this stuff when we have very qualified people at Canisius, at Buff State, who could easily come in and do exactly what I just heard you talking about, I'm sure," he said.

Paladino argued that locals also would be more readily available.

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.