Here's some advice for the Buffalo School Board:
Don't spend any more money than necessary to get rid of Superintendent James A. Williams and former Deputy Superintendent Folasade Oladele just to be nice to them. The money is needed to help our students.
We hope the Buffalo Control Board will look closely at the separation agreements arranged by the School Board, and strike down unnecessary expenditures.
While everyone wants the best for our students, that will be impossible without enough money. In the next three school years, school district deficits are projected to hit $36.8 million, then $45.8 million and $60.8 million. Those are frightening numbers that must be brought under control. The first job of the School Board is to provide a stable economic environment; everything else flows from that.
In a perverse way, a bright spot economically is a projected drop in enrollment of 500 students. The declining enrollment provides the board an opportunity to save money by closing as many school buildings as possible.
Earlier this year the School Board considered closing several schools and reconfiguring others, moves that would have saved an estimated $5 million a year. The plan was dropped after vocal opposition by parents, but these dire times mean closings must be back on the table.
On another front, the cosmetic surgery rider enjoyed by the Buffalo Teachers Federation is costing the district $5.4 million a year.
BTF President Philip Rumore is taking an unreasonable, indefensible position by refusing to remove it. Rumore again has proven that he is not interested in the well-being of the students. He's only interested in getting what he can for union members regardless of how students suffer.
The School Board has its work cut out for it. The board members need to figure out a strategy and then play hard ball to stabilize the district's finances.