City & Catholic schools superintendents share challenges

May 24, 2017

The two leaders of the Buffalo Public School District and Catholic schools held a conversation Tuesday.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash met with Catholic Schools Superintendent Sister Carol Cimino at the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo Tuesday.   

Young Catholic Academy students welcomed Superintendent Cash into their classroom.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Young Catholic Academy students welcomed Superintendent Cash into their classroom with a song. Cash met with his counterpart, Catholic Schools Superintendent Sister Cimino for about a 20-minute conversation.

Both leaders said they are facing similar challenges in serving diverse populations and meeting the needs of students living in poverty.

“It’s been wonderful because we really are on the same page here. We’re really both not only working for the same purpose, but we’re serving really the same populations and comforting the same kinds of problems,” explained Cimino.

“The greater good is to serve Buffalo and how can we raise Buffalo right now – it’s going through a great economic renaissance, but we need to make sure that it sustains a strong, educational renaissance and so I think that’s what we are trying to do – you go fast if you go alone, but you go farther if you go together and that’s what we are doing – we’re working together,” Cash said.   

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash & Catholic Schools Superintendent Sister Carol Cimino held a conversation at Catholic Academy of West Buffalo Tuesday.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Sister Cimino boldly asked Cash about his views on school choice.  Cash responded positively.  

“I believe in school choice, but I want to make sure the choices are from a menu of really good schools. My vision, would be always, that we work with privates, independence, charters, publics, traditional, non-traditional – make sure that we are working together to ensure really high quality – equally and high quality education,” answered Cash. 

The two leaders discussed the lack of minority teachers at both Catholic and city schools. And while the Catholic schools provide a religious philosophy in its teachings, both schools superintendents believe they should share ideas all in providing children with a strong education. 

“Sharing best practices and challenges, because there are challenges to this work and how we can work together to help all children here in Buffalo,” Cash remarked. 

“And we’ve agreed to perhaps follow up on some of the topics that we talked about – with children and their families,” responded Cimino. “I love that quote that you did – if we do work together, we will go farther and I think we can be a lot more effective.”   

Catholic Academy students welcomed Superintendent Cash into their classroom.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Public school services are provided to Catholic schools that includes free and reduced breakfast and lunch and transportation. Cimino complimented the work of Cash for assisting in delivery of services to her students.

“Thank God, since Dr. Cash has been here, I would say our relationship has been much more productive,” declared Cimino.

The two leaders discussed the lack of minority teachers at both Catholic and city schools.  And while the Catholic schools provide a religious philosophy in its teachings -- both schools superintendents believe they should share ideas all in providing children with a strong education.

At the end of their conversation they did agree they are on the same page.  Cash even told the catholic school leader saying they should swap out jobs.

“Let’s do ‘a year in the life switch’,” said Cash. “Fine – you want to?” asked Cimino. “Yeah”, replied Cash. “Wow – okay, that would be great. Do I get everything?” Cimino asked Cash. “Yeah”, Cash responded. Cimino laughed.    

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash met with Catholic Schools Superintendent Sister Carol Cimino.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

You can learn more about the state of Buffalo Public Schools at 11 a.m. Wednesday when Superintendent Cash joins us in the WNED/WBFO studio for a live Facebook chat hosted by senior reporter Eileen Buckley and Buffalo News education reporter Tiffany Lankes.