Two candidates backed by powerful Buffalo businessman and Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino and an incumbent were declared winners Tuesday night in the city school board elections.
Larry Quinn, Patti Bowers Pierce and Barbara Seals Nevergold received the most percentage of votes, capturing three at-large Board of Education seats.
With 97 percent of the vote tabulated, Quinn was leading with 17 percent followed by Pierce and Seals Nevergold both with 14 percent of the vote.
Quinn and Pierce were both supported candidates of Paladino, who has attempted to remove schools Superintendent Pamela Brown. There has been much speculation that Paladino promoted Quinn and Pierce so he would have the needed votes in a future attempt to knock Brown out of her leadership role in the city school district.
Quinn, former Buffalo Sabres manager partner, has stated that he would want Brown fired.
"We have a very difficult problem. You know, turning around a district like this is complex. It requires the best leadership. From what I've been able to see -- she really hasn't demonstrated much leadership at all," said Quinn. "I'm not trying to target her as the problem with the school district...she's clearly not part of the solution."
"Carl Paladino has put a light on the problems these school districts that was never there before. But it's not why I'm running. I'm running because after he asked me...after he asked me, I started engaging with parents and students. What I found was disempowerment," said Quinn.
Pierce has also indicated that she would want to terminate Superintendent Brown.
"I think that the board and the superintended need to work together as a team and they need to involve the parents and the opinions of the parents and engage the parents so they feel they are connected with what's going on in the district. Teachers and principals feel as though meetings are taking place behind closed doors that are affecting their schools and they are not even a voice at the table. They have not input whatsoever. So I would think that with a superintendent that was dynamic and exuded leaderships skills -- she would want or he would want to work with the principals," said Pierce.
Seals Nevergold said she would retain Brown. In a recent WBFO interview, the school board president admitted Brown has made some missteps, but remains supportive.
"I know that there had been some issues and some problems that haven't been addressed as well as I would like to have them addressed, at the same time I believe that Dr. Brown has worked very hard," said Seals Nevergold.
Seals Nevergold has also been under fire and criticized for her own leadership. Paladino has made several attempts to remove her from the board.
Election monitors state that voter turnout for this election was unusually strong. 50,414 votes were counted Tuesday evening.