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Horvath to be SUNY Fredonia's first female president

Mar 28, 2012

For the first time in its 186-year history, a woman has been appointed president of SUNY Fredonia. 

Dr. Virginia Schaefer Horvath, who has served as vice president for academic affairs at the college since 2005, will become the college's 13th president when she takes over July 1.  The SUNY Board of Trustees unanimously approved Horvath's appointment today after she was recommended by Chancellor Nancy Zimpher last week.

The 54-year-old Horvath is an Amherst native who was chosen from a field of more than 50 candidates.  She will earn an annual salary of $205,000. 

WBFO News file photo

The fight over millions of dollars to help turn around the city's seven most troubled schools is becoming more tangled, with the State Education Department rejecting the third deal between the schools and the Buffalo Teachers Federation over principal and teacher evaluations.

The teachers union met Tuesday night only hours after the notice form Albany on the rejection of the school improvement grant.

"I equate this with a teacher going into a class and giving a test to the class on a lesson they haven't taught," said Phil Rumore, president of the BTF.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

In recent years, there have been more accusations of cheating in chess, due in part to the proliferation of smart phones. Now, a professor in Buffalo claims he’s found a way root it out.

But Kenneth Regan's methods aren’t accepted by everyone.


Every chess player has his or her own style. Russian Vladimir Kramnik likes to take bathroom breaks during matches. That got him in some trouble five years ago.

Buffalo school officials and teachers union leaders have met a deadline by sending to Albany, at the 11th hour, a memorandum of understanding concerning teacher evaluations.

Student absenteeism has been a major bone of contention in talks between the two sides.  Buffalo can secure several million additional state education dollars, but the district and the union must agree on a rigorous teacher evaluation system whether or not students show up for class. 

Photo provided by SUNY

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher has announced that will recommend Virginia Schaefer Horvath to serve as the next president of SUNY Fredonia. 

The appointment will be considered by the SUNY Board of Trustees at the next meeting March 28, 2012.

Daniel Robison / WBFO

A new bill in Congress would incentivize businesses to hire more interns.

The Workforce-Ready Educate America Act would deliver a $1,000 tax credit for each student given an internship. Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D-NY) is expected to introduce the measure within a few weeks.

Chris Caya/WBFO

A day-long conference on bullying on the UB North Campus attracted nearly 800 people Wednesday.

The 9th Annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar was sponsored in part by the Secret Service and the office of U.S. Attorney William Hochul.  He said statistics indicate most students will be victimized at some point during elementary school and 35% of 'chronic bullies' end up in prison.

Photo from Maureen Orth's Website

Social justice is the theme of a forum to be held Wednesday evening at Nardin Academy in Buffalo. 

A panel discussion will feature keynote speaker Maureen Orth.  Orth is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine and Peace Corps volunteer.

Orth is also the widow of the late Tim Russert and mother of NBC reporter Luke Russert.

The Buffalo School Board could be voting soon on laying off dozens of employees after leaders of the teacher's union approved keeping an attendance clause in the district's teacher evaluation agreement.

Albany insists chronically absent students must count.  The dispute is holding up $9 million in funding for six of Buffalo's low-achieving schools. 

Chris Caya/WBFO

With more than $9 million at risk, Buffalo's Board of Education is appealing to the teachers union for help. 

At a special meeting today, the School Board unanimously approved a resolution asking the Buffalo Teachers Federation Council of Delegates to reconsider removing the student attendance clause from its teacher evaluation plan.  Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon says state education officials won't accept a plan that excludes students with excessive absences. 

The pressure appears to be mounting on the Buffalo Teachers Federation as the Buffalo school district scrambles to save $9 million in state funding.

At a special meeting at noon Tuesday, the Buffalo School Board is expected to formally request that the Buffalo Teachers Federation drop its request that any new teacher evaluation system account for the district's dismal student attendance record.

Cuomo slips in poll on education issues

Mar 6, 2012

In a new poll released Monday, voters give Governor Andrew Cuomo mixed reviews on his education policies.

They say they like a new agreement on teacher evaluations, but a narrow margin say the governor is overall making the problems in the education system worse.

The poll, by Siena College, asked voters whether they think a new teacher evaluation system brokered by Governor Cuomo will improve the quality of education in New York.

Siena’s Steve Greenberg says 50 percent say they think it would, while 38 percent believed it would have no effect.

WBFO News file photo

The search for a new Buffalo schools superintendent is heating up with public meetings to let citizens talk about the qualities of who should eventually sit in the City Hall office.

Mike Desmond was at a meeting last night in Hamlin Park School 74.

The school board hopes to have a superintendent in place by summer and has Cascade Consulting Group doing the search.

That Seattle-based firm is promising 60-meetings in the process, including talking to students about the superintendent's job.

WBFO News photo by Jim Pastrick

Erie Community College North Campus hosted a collaborative discussion about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   The event was held Thursday as part of Black History Month celebrations.  

WBFO's Jim Pastrick listened as students and faculty discuss Dr. King's "drum major" speech.

Photo from Medaille College Website

A new program at Medaille College is becoming a popular major at the school.   About six months ago the school launched a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. 

The director of the program says it  is attracting the attention of students.

"We almost tripled enrollment from single digits up into the high double digits.  The program is appearing to be very popular," said Steven MacMartin is a clinical assistant professor and director of the Homeland Security program at Medaille. 

Photo provided by Brian Trzeciak Citizen Action of New York/Alliance for Quality Education

Parents and community leaders are demanding that the Buffalo Board of Education approve a new school suspension policy. 

They gathered on the steps of Buffalo City Hall late Wednesday morning in the rain to call for the Jawaan Daniels Student Safety Resolution.  

Daniels was a Lafayette High School student who was shot and killed while standing at a bus stop last year after he was suspended for loitering in the halls.   

WBFO News file photo

Interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Amber Dixon says it is time for her to say yes to apply for the possible as a permanent superintendent. 

It was a question Dixon would not answer after taking over four months ago when James Williams retired. 

But now Dixon wants to be considered as a candidate. 

"And I think it is time to say yes. I think we have moved this district in the right direction," said Dixon.

Dixon recently  reached agreement with the school board on the seven models for the schools improvement grants. 

Finding Kind photo

As the topic of bullying remains in the forefront in the wake of the local death of Williamsville North High School student  Jamey Rodemeyer  a private school in Amherst will be screening a documentary about  bulling. 

The Park School will feature "Finding Kind".   It focuses on girl to girl aggression and bullying.    WBFO'S Eileen Buckley talked to young women who are the filmakers of "Finding Kind".

Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson are 2009 graduates of Pepperdine University  in Malibu, California.  

New York State Education Commissioner John King, Jr. has suspended School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding for all 10 SIG school districts in the state.  That includes Buffalo.  

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo Board of Education has a new member.  The school board voted five to three Wednesday night to appoint Barbara Seals Nevergold as an at-large member. 

Seals Nevergold succeeds Christopher Jacobs, who was elected Erie County Clerk. 

Seals Nevergold is co-founder and co-director of the Uncrowned Queens Institute, which documents the stories of African-American women.

Local students pledge holiday safety in "chain of life"

Dec 23, 2011

Students at one Western New York high school are entering their Holiday break promising safe decisions involving driving.   A so-called "chain of life" made of paper links, alternating in red and green for the Holiday season, hang from the ceiling in the main lobby of West Seneca West High School.  Each linked was signed by students who, by doing so, have promised not to drink and drive or text and drive.

A student at Sweet Home High School is behind bars after an arrest for sexual assault.

The identity of the seventeen year old male student is not being released nor is the name of the fifteen year old female victim. A hall monitor alerted staff members that a male student had taken the female student into a secluded area of the school. When the staff investigated, they were able to stop the assault in progress. Lieutenant Eric Davis of the Amherst Police Department commended the staff at the school for their prompt attention to the situation.

A  unity rally was held at Lafayette High School on Saturday in support of the school.

Lafayette has been identified as one of the under-performing schools in the Buffalo District. Students, parents, teachers and community activists all came together to celebrate what is hoped to be a positive future for the school. School Principle Naomi Cerre claims that actions underway are brightening the school's outlook.

Buffalo Schools turn-around plans approved

Dec 15, 2011

The Buffalo Board of Education approved turn-around models Wednesday night for six low-achieving schools.  Futures Academy and the Charles Drew Science Magnet will both see half of their staffs replaced.  The other four schools will operate under an Educational Partnership Organization.  Known as an E-P-O, it is a restart model that -- if approved by the State -- would see outside organizations run the schools.   

UB2020 gets state's thumbs up

Dec 13, 2011
WBFO News photo by Michael Mroziak

Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus Tuesday to announce the approval of the UB2020 application. 

The State has awarded $35 million to UB under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program.   Governor Cuomo signed the challenge grant at the North campus late Tuesday morning.  The $375 million dollar plan is designed to create more than 3,000 jobs while helping to revitalize Buffalo's economy.

State Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) announced that he is introducing legislation to close a loophole in the state’s child abuse reporting requirements.   

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley says  Maziarz points to the Penn State scandal -- saying it has put sexual abuse back in the national spotlight and highlights loopholes in the reporting laws.   

WBFO News file photo

Interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Amber Dixon and Parents' Group leader Sam Radford are two of Thursday night's scheduled speakers at an information session on possible turnaround models for Buffalo's lowest performing schools. 

United Partners for Public Education in Buffalo will host the discussion starting at 6 p.m. Buffalo's Waterfront School.

Buffalo, NY – William Greiner's last Talk of the University on WBFO.

Buffalo, NY – The largest, most prestigious collection of James Joyce materials in the world went on exhibit this weekend for the first time away from it's home at UB.

Buffalo, NY – The University at Buffalo Alumni Association will honor 20 individuals with achievement awards at a gala to be held Friday in the Adam's Mark Hotel, 120 Church St.