Posts Tagged ‘School Board’

Sam Hoyt, Chris Jacobs, and the School Board Election

May 6, 2009

sam_hoyt1I like Sam Hoyt.  I’ve voted and volunteered for him in the past, and we were even guest speakers at the same event once.  But I don’t understand why he would urge people to vote for incumbent school board member Chris Jacobs when so many of his supporters were actively working to elect a different slate of candidates.

In the week before the election, I got the following Facebook message from Sam: “For those of you who live in the City of Buffalo, I’d like to encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow for my good friend Chris Jacobs, who is running for re-election to the School Board. You can find out more information about him at his facebook group, linked below.”  I’ve also heard that Sam sent a mailer and recorded a robo-call message in support of Jacobs.  You can read about the endorsement here.

I’m not going to try and figure out the politics behind this support.  Suffice it to say, it’s confusing — Jacobs was supported by Byron Brown, Hoyt’s constant nemesis, and opposed by the Buffalo Teacher’s Federation, who have their problems with Sam.  I’ll just say that it seems odd for Sam to work against many of his strongest supporters — who have spent several weeks trying to oust the incumbents — particularly when these folks stood by Sam last summer during the intern scandal and worked to get him re-elected.

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Buffalo School Board Election Results

May 5, 2009
Our Next Superintendent?

Our Next Superintendent?

You can follow things here.

With 90% of districts reporting, John Licata leads with 19%, followed by Chris Jacobs with 16% and Bryon McIntyre with 14%.  Incumbent Catherine Collins is 165 votes behind McIntyre.

If these results hold, it would mean two new board members, two incumbents out on their ass, and (possibly) a world of hurt for Superintendent James Williams.

Updates in the comments.

Buffalo School Board Elections

May 4, 2009
Catherine Collins: taxpayer-funded glamor shot?

Catherine Collins: taxpayer-funded glamor shot?

The Buffalo School Board elections are tomorrow, Tuesday May 5th.  Three at-large seats on the 9-member board will be up for grabs tomorrow.  You should vote, and you should kick the incumbents out on their collective ass.

CEJ has been all over this issue, and they’ve put together a candidate questionnaire.

Business groups and entrenched politicians have spent more than $30,000 in an effort to retain the current at-large board members — Chris Jacobs, Catherine Collins, and Florence Johnson.  This support comes despite — or perhaps because of — the fact that these three board members are at the heart of the corruption and ineffectiveness that have marked the board in recent memory.  For instance, the board has spent some $33,000 on meals and snacks for itself over the last 18 months:

Last week, for instance, they could choose from egg rolls, shrimp lo mein, General Tso’s chicken, pepper steak, sesame chicken, cheesecake, cookies and flan, among other goodies, before they sat down to discuss finance matters.

Other weeks, board members enjoy meatballs, turkey, chicken, potatoes, corn and salad. Sometimes, it’s steak fajitas and chicken wings.

Besides the $300 or so that’s spent each week on meals for the board and administrators who stay late for meetings, another $100 a week keeps the board’s kitchen in City Hall stocked with soft drinks, chips and cookies.

There are two issues here.  First, the obvious fact that gainfully employed adults can feed themselves rather than gorging at a taxpayer-funded smorgasbord.  But second, and more interestingly, these Board of Ed buffets are being catered by a woman named Joyce Livingston.  This seems odd, since board members could keep their business within the school system — and save money — by having their meetings catered by Emerson Commons, the culinary arts high school on Chippewa that runs its own restautrant and catering service.  Who wants to bet that Joyce Livingston knows someone in City Hall?

Beyond that, we’re paying to send these people to conferences around the country with little apparent benefit to the district.  Collins is one of the worst offenders, racking up more than $14,000 in expenses for 9 trips over the previous 18 months.  Johnson has taken “only” 4 such taxpayer-supported vacations, while Jacobs — the son of a billionaire — has spared the district and used Daddy’s money, instead.

Ok, the board may be full of greedy leeches, but what kind of job are they doing?  Remember the Jayvonna Kincannon fiasco? Or how about the decision to give ResultTech millions of dollars to run an alternative school, despite achieving a 100% failure rate with its 8th grade students?

These people are free to continue ripping us off because turnout is so low for school board elections.  If we let it continue, we have no one to blame but ourselves.