Jennifer L. Mecozzi, 44, training and logistics coordinator for People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo).
Children in Buffalo schools: Two at Middle Early College, one at Waterfront Elementary.
Experience: Community activist and coordinator.
Reasons for running: “I really feel like parents aren’t really getting the nitty-gritty of what’s going on in the schools … Part of the reason why I want to run, too, is to bring better communication, or at least an idea of what’s going on, to the community.”
Supporters: Citizen Action of New York, Buffalo Teachers Federation.
Expected campaign budget: $20,000.
ON THE ISSUES:
• Against more charter schools in Buffalo.
• Supports extending the school day and school year.
• Does not think that state receivership law – which places the most struggling schools under direct control of the superintendent – has the potential to improve Buffalo schools.
• Opposes using student test results in teacher evaluations.
• Thinks that Superintendent Kriner Cash is doing a “fair” job but would like him to engage more with the community.
• District priorities for 2016-17 budget should be smaller class sizes, more physical-education teachers and more bus aides.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
On the divided School Board: “There’s too much drama. I don’t know what type of job they’re doing because they’re constantly arguing and fighting. … I would say no matter what side you’re on, it’s gotten to the point that it’s more of a personality conflict.”
On stalled contract negotiations with the Buffalo Teachers Federation: “There’s a definite need to look at the quality of the teachers in another way. …
“If it wasn’t for my son’s preschool teacher … she noticed that there were some issues with him and that he needed occupational therapy and physical therapy. I didn’t see that. She arranged programs that I didn’t know existed. …
“They deserve everything that they should get for the work that they do. I think if you put that on the table, you’ll be able to weed out the teachers that are not doing their jobs. Not every teacher is perfect.”
On the legal battle with LPCiminelli to recoup money on $1.3 billion school reconstruction project: “The school reconstruction lawsuit? I’ll be totally honest with you, I’m not familiar with it. … There’s a lot issues that I have been looking to be briefed. … I do need to look into it.”
– Deidre Williams