Buffalo School Board bickering delays Superintendent's contract extension

Nov 19, 2020

In the words of a Buffalo School Board member Wednesday evening, the board again kicked down the road the future of Kriner Cash as school superintendent, as the board spent more than 1 1/2 hours debating whether to talk about his contract.

The board had two big issues. One was the decision that school staff and administrators will generally be joining students from home, after the state's new orange status for schools came down Wednesday. Many staff and administrators had been working two days in the buildings and City Hall. That will now stop and the district has to figure out how to get textbooks and meals to students.

Chief of State Darren Brown-Hall told the board there's a rush on getting the staffers out of the buildings.

"We'll be working with supervisors, directors, building principals to develop a plan so that staff are able to come and retrieve the necessary items they need so that they can continue their work from home," Brown-Hall said. "What we want to make sure, it's done so in a manner that there's no more than 25% of staff in the building at one time. So that's why we can use Thursday, Friday, next week Monday, Tuesday to accomplish that."

The second issue was Superintendent Kriner Cash's contract. In a meeting that became increasingly testy and noisy, the board finally decided to hold a meeting Tuesday afternoon to talk about Cash's contract. Cash said the board has to make decisions, with 10 months left on his current contract.

"We're heading into Thanksgiving. After that, December is here and later on in that time, I'm going to have to make some monumental decisions that then will create a lot of angst and anxiety in the community," Cash said. "And if we're not together and if you're not going to support me in making those difficult decisions, then we have a big problem with the community."

Board members agreed the superintendent has done a great job in building a district with sterling academic performance for an urban school, but board members spent much of the long fight pointing fingers at each other, with some harsh words.

Board Member Larry Scott backs the superintendent.

"Dr. Cash has demonstrated that he is the right and necessary leader to lead us through and beyond this pandemic, with a laser focus on health and safety, continued learning and social emotional wellness," Scott said. "My support for this resolution is clear and unwavering, and I feel delaying is irresponsible and is not prudent in any way."