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Paladino wins, vows to shake up school district

Mike Desmond

Local developer and longtime school district critic Carl Paladino, and two other newcomers, Theresa Harris-Tigg and Jim Sampson, were elected Tuesday to seats on the Buffalo Board of Education.

Lou Petrucci decided not to seek another term and Ralph Hernandez and Rosalyn Taylor didn't get enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot and failed to get enough write-in votes to hold onto their current seats. That means Paladino, Sampson and Harris-Tigg will be in those seats July 1.

Jay McCarthy, President Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Sharon Belton Cottman held onto their seats.

Paladino plans to be at tonight's school board meeting to start pushing for the removal of Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown and finding her replacement.

"We don't always have to go beyond the county line to go find somebody. We have very qualified people here in Erie County and in Western New York to hold that position," Paladino said.

"I think it's time that Pamela Brown step down. She's obviously incapable in the position and I think it's time for us to get to get another person on board immediately."

The school board is in the late stages of preparing its budget for next year . It's expected to make major spending cuts to balance that budget.

New board member Sampson says a priority of his will be figuring out where the money goes, saying less than 40 percent goes into the classroom.
"That's one of the questions we have to ask. Where is all that money going to? What's it being used for? And, how is it affecting instruction of children? We've never been able to get an answer. And, one of my agendas is I'm going to start finding out where those questions are and what the answers are."

Paladino says he will push to have the entire budget put on the web so the public can look at it and recommend changes.

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.