Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Organizational Study conducted of Buffalo Public Schools insightful merits school board attention

An "Organizational Study of the Buffalo Public Schools" final report dated July 2, 2010 by the MGT of America, Inc. consultants from Tallahassee, Fla. started last year provided insightful recommendations to district officials in areas from District Administration to Financial Management and Transportation Management with a Summary of Potential Savings and Cost.

The concise report, costing over one quarter million, recommended what areas needed to be restructured, providing a new model or reorganization of the school district.

Interestingly, there are staff members in central office engaged in duties and responsibilities not aligned with other departments where the work should be conducted, i.e, the Chief of Staff in the Superintendent's office handling charter schools not suited for this role and function. This seems to be a recurring theme in the report.

Also, the final report gauges the perceptions of central office administrators, building administrators and teachers in the school district, using a climate survey from strongly agree to disagree.

The report includes time tables for initiating and completing the recommendations. The questions is has the district initiated any of the recommendations yet? If so, which ones? And how are they currently reflected in any policy changes?

The report is strong in some areas but weak in others for example, removing bus aides from school buses, not a good idea, overall it was well-written. Unfortunately in the Buffalo Schools these studies collect dust on a shelf while the "same old, same old" way of doing business persist.

That this still happens is reflected in the recent administrative appointments to the school buildings, i.e. some principals at failing elementary schools rewarded with transfers to elite secondary schools, or principals in elementary schools placed in vocational high schools and schools with high enrollment of English Language Learners many of them Spanish-speaking still assigned building administrators unable to communicate in the language students speak among a few things.

Also, the havoc the Superintendent caused this year in not honoring transfers teachers requested as per their contract, causing a grievance, requiring costly legal intervention on both sides funds that could be better used for the instructional.

District legal expenses for a four year period from 2006 to 2010 total
$3, 933, 894. The bulk of it going to outside legal expenses from
$2, 039, 258 according to the report. The district Finance Office reported legals expenses high during the wage freeze period from 2007 to 2009, costing $1, 387, 587.

A committee of stake-holders in the community, the School Board, key district personnel, teachers, union representatives, including the State Education Department should be organized to study the final report and to ensure implementation along the time-tables recommended, because of the cost factor involved---savings to the district, especially at a time teachers laid-off needlessly and deep budget deficits expected as the federal stimulus funds dry up amid a financial crisis in New York State.

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo