The following is a letter from former NYS gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, pleading with the City of Buffalo Board of Education to demand the resignation of Superintendent James Williams.
From the Desk of
Carl P. Paladino
June 3, 2011
Buffalo Board Of Education
Buffalo, New York 14202
Re: Dysfunctional Board
Dear Members of the Board:
Enclosed are copies of my most recent communications with the Board.
On behalf of the children in our City public schools, and their parents, who you are charged with representing, we implore you to join in an immediate vote of no confidence and demand for the resignation of James Williams to be effective no later than the end of this school year.
We no longer care if you must pay him a 6 month termination fee. We’ve lost millions in waste and grants that he failed to apply for. Our children can’t wait another year for education improvements. Less than 50% of all students and less than 25% of black males graduated last year.
It is not your choice or right to equivocate on the issue. You are elected to implement the will of the people you represent. You have abrogated your right to speak for and protect the children of Buffalo. You have violated the public trust. Your Board is and has been a farcical joke with no respect for the weight of responsibility entrusted to you. Williams, his cohorts on the Board and Phil Rumore, on whose watch for 30 years the system has collapsed into the abyss, has dictated to you that his sickly and lame administration will continue for another year. The collective Board lacks a cogent understanding of its role and the intestinal fortitude to do the job. Even one more day of incompetent leadership is an eternity for the children who have been denied an education and the opportunity for a fulfilling life by a corrupt education cabal.
The Board has failed pathetically to recognize and act deliberately to rid the system of its arrogant and incompetent Superintendent who, despite his finger pointing, is primarily responsible for the chaotic state of the system today. Parents, children, teachers and the community have lost all respect for him.
Your collective, laid back attitude shamefully allowed Williams to fully control and relegate the Board to the sidelines as spectators while the system denigrated and stagnated. The extension of Williams’ contract shocked the community. Rewarding failure illustrates gross incompetence. Useless and hollow rhetoric instead of proactive change have been the mantel of the Williams’ administration. Meeting after meeting you have sat there listening to feel-good presentations unable to connect the violence on our streets with our school dropout rate.
James Williams in devoid of any real vision, the tools to implement that vision and most importantly, any real sensitivity to the children of our community. His tenure should have ended months ago when it was discovered that he withheld from the Board, during his contract extension deliberations, a material fact, that being a scathing report from the State pointing out the failures of the system and the Superintendent. His overt lies to the Board over the Campus West closure, the hiring of 28 administrators many of whom were unqualified, his out of control absences from Buffalo, especially during such critical times, his insulting absences from key meetings with State officials and his denial of information requested by the Board illustrate his disrespect for the Board, the children, their parents and the citizens of our City.
Two weeks ago Williams agreed that if it was the consensus of the Board that he leave, he be allowed to resign with dignity effective at the end of the school year and he would not seek any further compensation. To buy time to further their own agendas Chris Jacobs and Florence Johnson equivocated and demanded a “proper evaluation process” to delay a vote of “no confidence” until after Pam Cahill, a supporter of the discharge of Williams, left the board on May 13, 2011. The delay also gave them and some inner city ministers time to coerce Roz Taylor and Ruth Kapsiak with threats of reprisal if they supported discharge. The Board has failed to disclose each and every evaluation and its particulars which will reveal the complicity of certain Board members whose evaluations were designed to prop up what would otherwise be a failing grade. The community demands the release of all information relative to the current evaluations. We will then connect all the dots.
You have been misled into equivocation by Board members who selfishly have a political agenda, fear embarrassment because they participated in the hiring of Williams and are complicit with apparent leaders of inner city constituencies to protect their control over patronage, assignments and contracting and otherwise feed on the graft and corruption of $945 million budget. For 20 years Florence Johnson has sought power only for the sake of power with a total disregard for the children of her own community. She has no regard for the forgotten children she relegates to a dysfunctional life.
Florence Johnson does not want Williams’ immediate resignation or retirement because she wants to maintain “Black” leadership instead of the “best” leadership no matter what the color. She complains that Dr. Ogilvie has no “urban” experience when in fact he has supervised, investigated and reported on the Buffalo system and has wide experience in educating challenged children.
The Community demands the immediate resignation or discharge of the Board, the discharge of James Williams and appointment by the State Board of Regents of a Special Master to operate the school system for a minimum of 5 years.
The good teachers in the system must send Phil Rumore packing. Enough is enough. He has recklessly conspired with Florence Johnson and Chris Jacobs to influence and interfere with Board deliberations and coerce board members. We are asking the Erie County District Attorney and the U.S. Attorney to investigate. Federal funds are involved.
Our New York State legislative delegation must approve legislation to empower the New York State Board of Regents to discharge the Board of Education and the Superintendent and take over the system. The issue must rise above politics to correct this travesty. There are only 8 session days left in Albany.
The children of our City demand the right to an education.
If those copied with this letter agree with the above please respond by return email or letter with your name and town or city of residence. The names, emails and cell numbers of Board members are given below in the event you wish to contact them.
Very truly yours,
Carl P Paladino
Chief Executive Officer
cc: Members of the Buffalo Board of Education
Members of the Buffalo Common Council
NY State Legislative Delegation, WNY
NY State Board of Regents
Hon. Frank Sedita, Erie County District Attorney
Hon. William Hochul, U.S. Attorney