Brown, school board president react elections

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) Buffalo School Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown says she has “not given any consideration at this point” to the possibility of a buy-out of her contract, should a vote by the new school board go against her.

Tuesday night’s Buffalo School Board election victories of Larry Quinn and Patti Bowers Pierce create a new majority on the board. When the new board meets on July 1, board member Carl Paladino says he will call for the termination of Dr. Brown’s contract “without cause.” This means she would be compensated for the last year of her three year contract, which amounts to $217,500.

Pierce told News 4 that she is still in favor of terminating Brown, while Quinn said Tuesday night, “I think this election made it pretty clear that we need to make a change there and I think the votes are there.”

School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold, who was re-elected as a member-at-large, has supported Brown but believes the election results could mean the superintendent’s days are numbered.

“I would say that probably could be deemed a referendum on her tenure.”

However, she believes there has been progress made in the district under Brown’s leadership. Though Brown says she hasn’t given the possibility of a buy-out any consideration, she “will require some time to think about that and hopefully engage in discussion with the board.”

School Board member Jim Sampson is viewed as a potential new board president. He told News 4 he would accept the position if asked, saying his qualifications include “an understanding of the community, and understanding of what education means for this city. I think the ability to work with diverse groups of people and try to find consensus.”

Quinn added that a new superintendent would not necessarily, in his mind, need to be an educator.

“I think it’s a very large business that has to be run.”

He mentioned the example of Jody Lomeo, who is now the head of Kaleida Health and formerly the CEO of Erie County Medical Center. Lomeo had not previously been a hospital administrator by profession.

One name mentioned from the corporate world is retired BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York President Alfonso O’Neil White. Quinn said, “He would be a great addition if he would be willing to do that.”

Other names that have surfaced are school district Chief Financial Officer Barbara Smith, Buffalo Public Schools Chief of Student Support Dr. Will Keresztes, the state’s appointed Distinguished Educator Judy Elliot and retiring superintendent of ERIE 1 BOCES Donald Ogilvie.

Paladino has been a big proponent of BOCES and says he would like to see a new superintendent in place as soon as possible.

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