City school board member quits over new nursing contract

May 17, 2018

A Buffalo School Board member says she resigned over the board's approval of a new school nursing contract. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Park District Board member Dr. Catherine Flanagan-Priore is not pleased with the way the board handled the process. 

“And and when I sat in that room last night and heard some of the comments that were made to parents, community members, to stakeholders. It occurred to me that I could not, in all good consciousness, sit in that room again,” said Flanagan-Priore as she met with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Park District Board member Dr. Catherine Flanagan-Priore met with reporters Thursday afternoon.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

In a surprise move, Priore handed her resignation letter to the school board president Wednesday night. That was after the board approved a new provider for school nurses, ousting Kaleida Health.  

“I was crying when I handed it to her because I was really truly hoping that somehow I wouldn’t find myself in that situation,” Priore explained.

Priore is upset with how the board handled the proposal from Kaleida. The nursing issue heated up after Kaleida was told its paper bid didn't meet a deadline and was tossed out by the district.

Priore is a Kaleida employee, working pediatric psychologist at Children's Hospital. She had a conflict of interest and could not address her concerns, recusing herself from the vote.

"It occurred to me that I could not, in all good consciousness, sit in that room again," said Dr. Catherine Flanagan-Priore as she met with reporters Thursday afternoon.

“Number six of the RFP states very explicitly that ‘all late proposals – late submissions – will be returned to the vendor unopened and my understanding is that did not happen for Kaleida Health,” Priore stated.

“They’re using financial figures saying we were a much higher bidder – you know there’s some exposure on their part here and we’re going to have to seek answers that,” responded Mike Hughes, Kaleida spokesman. 

Hughes told reporters they will appeal the decision.  

Mike Hughes, Kaleida spokesman.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“A school board member that said that our bid was higher than that was selected – who knows that? How do they know that? We were under the impression that our bid wasn’t even accepted, so how do they know our bid was higher,” questions Hughes.   

The board approved for Sunbelt Staffing and Supplemental Healthcare.  Priore replaced Carl Paladino who was ousted last year. WBFO News spoke with school board president Barbara Seals Nevergold about the unexpected resignation of Priroe.

“I respect her decision. She felt that she was in ethical bind, so to speak and that rather than continue on the board she had to resign at this point,”

Seals Nevergold said considered Priore “an asset” to the school board. The board will now have to conduct a new search to replace the Park District member.