WBFO News has learned that the Buffalo Teachers Federation has endorsed three candidates for next month's Buffalo Board of Education elections.
BTF president Phil Rumore, in an interview with WBFO's Eileen Buckley, said the union is endorsing school board president Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold, incumbent John Licata and former school board member Ralph Hernandez.
Rumore said the union selected candidates that are experienced and will deliver a racial balance to the board.
"We felt that those people were the ones that had the most experience and knew what was going, and also was racially and ethnically balanced. I think that is what is needed on the school board," said Rumore.
But Seals Nevergold has been under fire by school board member Carl Paladino and accused of making decisions and siding with school superintendent Pamela Brown.
Rumore said she has been attacked by Paladino. She has been berated, attacked and brought lawsuit against by Paladino.
Hernandez recently announced his candidacy for one of three at-large seats up for grabs on the school board. Hernandez was tossed off the ballot for he West District seat in 2013 because of troubles with his nominating petitions. He then was a write-in candidate, but lost to James Sampson. Hernandez served nine years on the board.
"Ralph was one of the most under rated board members," said Rumore.
Rumore is also supporting Licata in his reelection to the board.
"He's a person that's going to sit down and find common ground," said Rumore.
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo News also expected to issue endorsements for the school board elections.
WBFO reached out each of the three endorsed candidates for comment. School board member Licata responded, saying he welcomes the teacher union's support.
"To me, I don't have a problem embracing the BTF," said Licata. "It would be sillyfor me to say I don't want that. It's the goal of everyone is to improve education in Buffalo, how we get there is the challenge."
A total of 15-candidates filed petitions to be on the ballot for the May 6th School board election for three at-large seats. Some petitions are being challenged. The Erie County Board of Elections is working to finalize candidates for the ballot. "At this point, we've had objections filed to a number of the petitions," said Dennis Ward, democratic elections commissioner.
"The Board of Election will review the objections with the petition determine if it is valid or note," said Ward. "They have general objections, then they have to put in specifics and none of the specifics have been received yet. So after the receipt of objections, then the Board of Elections will review the objections with the petition, to determine if it is valid or not."
Here is a full list of the candidates:
Sergio R. Rodriguez
Barbara A. Nevergold
John B. Licata
Patricia A. Pierce
Ralph R. Hernandez
Bryon J. McIntyre
Samuel P. Davis
Daniel Rockwitz Reynolds
Adrian Fitzgerald Harris