Minority businesses still missing out on school district contracts

Jun 21, 2018

The years-long struggle over more Buffalo school dollars going to minority companies and agencies boiled over again last night as Board Member Paulette Woods tried to stop approval of some high-dollar contracts.

Some school board members believe minority-owned businesses are not getting a fair share of school district contracts. The issue kept board members working late into Wednesday night.
Credit MIke Desmond/WBFO

Issues range from advertisements for contracts not being run in high-visibility minority newspapers to not enough recognition of the value of what some agencies can supply in the school buildings. In addressing the issue, Superintendent Kriner Cash says he pushes his staff to meet with minority operations, which he doesn't want to "feel ignored or dismissed or like they got no chance to get into the game."

Cash wants staff members to communicate better with firms that miss out on contracts so they can be told "here's what you need to do to be more competitive."

Woods, though, was not satisfied. To her perspective, too many contracts are approved quickly and with little review.

"I just went to the visit for the tour of the African-American Heritage Foundation. They are asking: How do we get into the game?," Woods said. 

"Because these things are important to the African-American community, to the self-image of its children. I want more access and we passed the rules and they're not following them."