10:05 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Financial offer made for Superintendent Brown's exit

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Pamela Brown has received a buyout offer to leave her job.

WBFO'S Mike Desmond has reaction to the report of a proposed buyout to superintendent Brown.

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Details regarding the limited time offer are sketchy, but The Buffalo News reports that it is valued at $500,000. Some of the money would come through the school district from Brown's contract. The balance would be collected from private donors.

Robert Gioia, president of the Oishei Foundation, and Robert Wilmers, CEO of M&T Bank, have been named among the potential donors, though neither would confirm their involvement.

Brown claims she is not interested in leaving. She has faced increasing pressure over a perceived lack of communication with the Board and community members and lagging problems plaguing a number of Buffalo's schools.

Brown survived a September effort to vote her out spearheaded by Carl Paladino. She still maintains support from a slim majority of the school board.

The superintendent is supported by five of the nine board members. But that might change in the May elections or if Paladino wins his fight to have board president Barbara Seals Nevergold, a supporter of Brown, removed from office and replaced.

WBFO News spoke with NAACP local President Frank Mesiah, a strong supporter of the superintendent, who says data show things are getting better.

Mesiah said the group offering her a half-million dollars to leave doesn't understand the schools.

"None of those people who are trying to buy her out ever had classes like we have now in schools. I doubt if any of them ever had their fellow students who might have been shot and killed, who were afraid to come to school for fear of being beat up or shot and killed," said Mesiah.

Mesiah said it's a perfect storm, from Albany not providing enough money, to parents who don't get their kids to school, to money being siphoned off for charter schools.

Paladino says Brown has to go but he doesn't want to pay her to leave, saying the effort to push her out is ongoing.

"I still believe that it should be done without a payoff. I don't believe in that. I don't believe you should pay for incompetence. The woman obviously doesn't even recognize her own incompetence or her own inabilities. It's unfortunate. She's a nice lady but she just doesn't get it," said Paladino.

Paladino said the problem issues are just piling up, as the district deficit rises and reserves shrink and budget problems are jeopardizing the after-school program from much-touted Say Yes to Education program.