Paladino to launch major push to remove school board incumbents

Jan 24, 2013

Buffalo Board of Education members were told Wednesday there will be an attempt to unseat those seeking another term. They were also told the proposed state budget does little for the continuing fiscal problem. 

Given the usually tiny turnout for school board elections, few may know there is an election this year in six districts yet to be approved.

Buffalo businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino appeared at the meeting to say there will be a major push to remove incumbents.

One incumbent, Lou Petrucci, had already told a weekly paper in his district he wasn't seeking another term.

Paladino leveled a savage attack on the board.

"46 percent of them, 50 percent, whatever the heck the number is, graduate. The rest of them...where do they go? They go out on the streets. It's been a continuing nonsensical, dysfunctional effort out of this board over the years to try to change things to make this school system better," said Paladino.

Paladino says if his opposition group succeeds, the school system's administration will also be swept out and replaced.

Schools Chief Financial Officer Barbara Smith says the governor's proposed changes mean the predicted deficit for the next school year looks like $52 million dollars rather than $60 million.

"It's better. He did put in some things that help some of our structural deficit drivers, primarily the pension-smoothing bill that will save us $8 million next year. It's very hard to stabilize a district with these significant increases that you can't predict from year to year. So that certainly helps us. They also froze the charter school tuition. That saves us another four," said Smith.

Smith says the proposed $10 million increase in state aid won't cover increases in health insurance for working and retired employees, which is estimated at $13 million.