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Most laud Elia ruling, but not for reason she gave for removing him

Reaction was swift to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia's decision to oust Carl Paladino from the Board of Education.

Elia's ruling was based solely on Paladino, in January 2017,  publicly discussing confidential information from an October 2016 executive session of the board.

But most of the people praising the decision instead referred to racist comments Paladino made in December about former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

Carl Paladino's polarizing time on School Board comes to an end

Buffalo Chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice:

"Buffalo is a better place today because Carl Paladino no longer has any power or authority over the lives of tens of thousands of children of color in the Buffalo Public Schools. He has never been fit to serve and Commissioner Elia's decision makes that very clear. Paladino will no longer terrorize the board majority or embarrass the parents, teachers, and community members with his outdated mentality and retrograde positions."

School board member Patricia A. Pierce, a Paladino ally:

"I'm surprised. I didn't think that the offense with regard to the executive session breach was significant enough to warrant removal. Much of what he talked about, it was long after it occurred in executive session, and the contract had already been settled. It's not as if he went against a gag order that affected the negotiation, or the ability to settle the contract.  He spoke in January and the contract had been settled in October. Once a contract is settled it's public knowledge. It's of public interest. It's public money.

"Many people feel Carl was not good for the school board. I felt he had many good qualities, and did bring a lot of recognition to issues that needed recognition.  Carl's business acumen is phenomenal. He understands contracts, the law, business. He brought that business acumen to the table along with his passion. Carl is a fighter for the underdog. He cares about children in this city. He wants every single child to receive a quality education."

School board president Barbara Seals-Nevergold, a Paladino opponent:

"We thought when we went to Albany we presented evidence that was impactful.
"Given the seriousness of the circumstances, to have a member willfully violate confidentiality does not do the school district any good.
"We are looking forward to moving forward without distraction. Our hope is we do not have continued disruption."

Philip Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation:

"I would have been surprised had she not removed him. He definitely violated the board by-laws and also the law.
But in addition to him being removed because he violated state law, he had no business being on the board. With him gone it's a better thing for our students and our community."

Larry Scott, co-chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization:

"I'm sure knowing the history, this isn't just going to end peacefully, but that's not something we're going to focus on.
"Collectively everyone is just very relieved and feels that justice has been served.  Now we can move on and focus our energies toward all the good and important work for all of our Buffalo schools."

School board member Larry Quinn, a Paladino ally:

"With the Board of Regents having become so political and dominated by NYSUT (New York State United Teachers), I wouldn't expect any other decision. It would have required MaryEllen Elia to be one of the most courageous people I know, and she's not. She's a politician in so many ways.
"I don't think the story is over. I think Carl will appeal this, file a lawsuit.
"People conflate the Obama comments with this, and that had nothing to do with this. He got kicked of because he talked about a contract that will cost almost a billion dollars, and how that contract was negotiated. He didn't do it while negotiations were going on. He didn't quote other board members. He simply explained to his constituents what went on when we spent close to $1 billion."

Mayor Byron W. Brown:

"As I said last December, when I urged Carl Paladino to resign from the School Board, clearly the process of healing and bringing people together needs to begin. That is even more clear today, so I am satisfied that this decision was made, and I am hopeful that we can now begin that process more completely."

City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder, a mayoral candidate:

"Ever since Carl Paladino made his despicable remarks, his presence on the school board became an unwelcome distraction. I condemned his remarks at the time, and called on the education commissioner to take action. Now that Commissioner Elia has made her decision, I am hopeful that that school district can move forward and focus all its attention on providing Buffalo's children with a high-quality education."

Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, a mayoral candidate:

"His absence from the board will guarantee that our children will no longer be represented by a racist bigot who has such little respect for common courtesy and decency for all people regardless of ethnicity or race."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan:

“Carl Paladino’s actions as a member of the Buffalo School Board were indefensible. Disclosing private information from an executive session is a very serious offense, and I am thankful Carl  Paladino was held accountable for his actions. Commissioner Elia did the right thing, and I thank her for removing Carl Paladino from the School Board. The students of the Buffalo School District deserve a great education, and deserve to have leaders on the School Board who are working in their best interests."

New York State United Teachers:

"Commissioner Elia made the right decision. There is absolutely no place in public education for someone who flagrantly disregards the rules and spouts disgusting, racially charged ideas that harm students and the teaching environment."


Read the commissioner's ruling on Carl Paladino

Hearing underscores longstanding tension on Buffalo School Board

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