Legislation being advanced by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is meeting resistance from both factions of the Buffalo Board of Education and from political activists from both parties. The legislation would disband the elected school board and give Mayor Byron Brown — a close political ally — unprecedented new powers over the district’s governance.
“It would seem that such important legislation that will have such a dramatic impact on the system required the input of a broad cross section of community stakeholders and an open period for comment,” writes Dr. Barbara Nevergold, the former board president, in a statement published this week. “This legislation aims to impose a system that will further disenfranchise voters in favor of power brokers and political bureaucrats.”
This same week, board member Carl Paladino penned an op-ed on PoliticsNY that called mayoral control “a farce” and noted concerns about the Assemblywoman’s patronage and political influence inside the municipal housing authority, an entity that has long had mayoral control and been horridly mismanaged.
Board President James Sampson agreed with Nevergold’s Facebook post:
This legislation aims to impose a system that will further disenfranchise voters in favor of power brokers and political bureaucrats. There is a very short window of time to voice our opposition to this legislation but if you are concerned you must contact your State Legislators and let them know your opinions. That is the democratic process and we should reaffirm that it works.
The rare moment of agreement among board members is inspiring hope that they will be able to better work together moving forward.