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School board examines consultant costs

WBFO File Photo

Buffalo schools spend millions and millions of dollars each year on consultants. Now, school board members are raising sharp questions about their value.

      

"Can't we at some point say: Wait, stop. What are we doing? How much money are we spending? And, what are the real needs of these kids?," asked Board Member Larry Quinn during a recent discussion on the district's many consultant contracts.

Board Member Carl Paladino estimates the school system spent $25 million last year on an array of grant programs.

The debate during the most recent board meeting left both sides of the often-feuding board factions united that the present system isn't functioning since it's not clear whether the grants are working since there don't seem to be solid goals.

Board Member Theresa Harris-Tigg was a city school teacher before shifting to teach at Buffalo State. Harris Tigg ridiculed the goal on one grant.
       
Even Interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie says there will be changes.

Mary Pauly,  assistant superintendent for curriculum, assessment and leadership, says staff members have been meeting for several weeks to discuss clearer goals.

Board members have complained for years that the paperwork isn't clear and that backup documentation is vague or non-existent.
 

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.