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Minority businesses still missing out on school district contracts

MIke Desmond/WBFO

The years-long struggle over more Buffalo school dollars going to minority companies and agencies boiled over again last night as Board Member Paulette Woods tried to stop approval of some high-dollar contracts.

Issues range from advertisements for contracts not being run in high-visibility minority newspapers to not enough recognition of the value of what some agencies can supply in the school buildings. In addressing the issue, Superintendent Kriner Cash says he pushes his staff to meet with minority operations, which he doesn't want to "feel ignored or dismissed or like they got no chance to get into the game."

Cash wants staff members to communicate better with firms that miss out on contracts so they can be told "here's what you need to do to be more competitive."

Woods, though, was not satisfied. To her perspective, too many contracts are approved quickly and with little review.

"I just went to the visit for the tour of the African-American Heritage Foundation. They are asking: How do we get into the game?," Woods said. 

"Because these things are important to the African-American community, to the self-image of its children. I want more access and we passed the rules and they're not following them."


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.