Buffalo School Board members Carl Paladino and Jason McCarthy say the incoming board majority won’t wait until July 1 to begin selecting a new interim superintendent who would lead the district for the next year or two.
Instead, they said, they will issue a news release “immediately” to begin soliciting interested candidates for the position. They expect to start the interview process with the incoming board this month, even though two members of the incoming majority have not yet been seated.
Their goal is to have the interim superintendent ready to begin work by July 1. Paladino sent out a three-page manifesto to the entire board Monday, saying he was “drawing a line in the sand” with the those who still control the board through the end of June.
“I’m giving my suggestion as to a process,” he said. “If they don’t like it, fine. They don’t have to participate, but that doesn’t mean we won’t participate.”
Board member Jason McCarthy, who expects to continue to serve as vice president of executive affairs after July 1, said he hopes to have a news release and job description for the interim superintendent out by Wednesday.
Whoever applies needs to have proper state certification and be experienced in supervising a school district in Western New York, said Paladino, who added that the job description might be further refined.
He, McCarthy and board member James Sampson said it’s a waste of time to wait until Superintendent Pamela Brown has a resignation date to begin the work of finding another district leader.
“Are we going to sit around and make sure her feelings aren’t hurt when she’s stated she wants to leave sooner than later?” McCarthy said.
But Sampson, who is expected to be the next board president, distanced himself from some of the rhetoric in Paladino’s statement. He also said that while Paladino’s missive represents the desires of the incoming majority, it deserves to be shared with the full board at its special meeting Wednesday before any other actions are taken.
“All that list is, is an expression of interest,” he said.
Aside from issuing a news release and posting a job description for the interim superintendent’s position “immediately,” the items on Paladino’s list include:
• Having Sampson, McCarthy and current board President Barbara Nevergold serve on a three-person review committee to review applications from potential candidates and make recommendations for further interviews.
Though Nevergold has not agreed to serve on any such review committee, Paladino said, “We’ve offered it. If she doesn’t want to participate, fine. We’ll get somebody else to participate.”
• Directing the current board to appoint Chief Financial Officer Barbara Smith as “temporary superintendent” to fill in any gap between when Brown resigns and July 1, if necessary. (The current board majority wants interim Deputy Superintendent Mary Guinn to serve in that role.)
• Directing the current board to take no action regarding a potential employment contract extension for Guinn, who is currently slated to leave the district at the end of this month.
While the current board is under no obligation to do anything that the incoming board desires between now and the end of June, Paladino said the incoming majority will work hard on July 1 to undo any board decisions that conflict with the interests of the incoming board majority.
“We don’t want the school year to be tainted by the present board,” he said.
To view Paladino’s three-page letter, visit the School Zone blog at www.buffalonews.com/schoolzone.