Buffalo, NY (WBEN) On Friday local developer, Carl Paladino released an open memo to the Buffalo School Board. In the memo, Paladino charges that board member, Ralph Hernandez is allied with Buffalo Teacher's Federation President, Phil Rumore and demands that Hernandez step down from his seat on the board.
On Saturday, Rumore spoke with WBEN and when asked about the memo Paladino released he said, "...I can't be intimidated...he feels that he can intimidate me like he intimidates other people with his money. I guess that annoys him. That would be my only guess." Rumore also stated that Paladino is a "...bully'.
As for Paladino's upcoming run for the School Board seat in the South District, Rumore cited the controversial Paladino emails that were leaked during his run against Andrew Cuomo. "I would hope the people in his district would say, scratch the surface, this is not the kind of person we would want our children to look up to as a member of our school board."
Here is the Open Memo released by Paladino on Friday 3/1/13:
To: Open Memo to the Buffalo Board of Education
From: Carl Paladino
Copy: Phil Rumore
BOE Superintendent Pamela Brown
Date: February 27, 2013
Re: Our schools and pond life- Chapter One- Ralph Hernandez
Attached is the Business First list of private high schools in Buffalo showing their annual tuition. The Nichols School is the most expensive non-specialty school at $18,800 per year and Canisius, St. Francis, and St. Joe’s range from $9,000-$11,000 per year.
The Board of Education (BOE) receives $965 million dollars in revenue annually. It then sends $12,000 per student for 8,139 students to the Charter Schools and provides buses for the charters. The balance stays with the BOE to “teach” 32,242 students which computes to $26,900 per student per year, the third highest cost school system in America.
Ralph Hernandez said that the numbers are not right and the cost of education was nowhere near as high. The facts don’t change just because Ralph has trouble with big words and numbers.
We are all too painfully aware that Ralph, like others on the Board, has a difficult time remaining conscious long enough to even absorb the glaring evidence that our school system is a total failure. If only by the process of osmosis through the remarkably dense material from which the Almighty has chosen to fashion your skulls, facts are facts and our school system is a nightmare for not only the children but also the parents, teachers and the community at large.
This is not about teachers. Most work very hard to fulfill their calling. They want their kids to excel. They want to feel accomplishment and they want safety for themselves and the kids so they can teach and not spending their days babysitting and breaking up fights.
You and BTF President Phil Rumore have told our community that charter schools are not good. The irony is that you assume people believe that nonsense. How dumb is dumb? How long do you think the illusion can go on?
Your unholy allegiance to Rumore is not only a conflict but it is clearly corrupt. Representatives of the citizens of Buffalo should not take bribes from those who should be their adversaries. Rumore supports you to remain on the board because you are weak. Your cowardice and fear of him allows him to continue to exploit the system for his self-absorbed own ends.
He endorses all of you, except for Jay McCarthy, who doesn’t play his game. He is asking the state teachers union for money to help keep you in office.
He instructs teachers to “remember that the Board of Education will be making decisions not only on teaching and learning conditions but also your contract, residency, APPR’s etc.”
The graduation rate is less than forty five percent (45)%. Twenty six percent (26%) passed the state-wide English proficiency test and thirty one percent (31%) passed the state-wide math proficiency test last year. Less than twenty percent (20%) of black males graduate. Less than five-percent (5%) of the students go to college.
You have allowed your executive staff to foster a culture which covers up criminality occurring daily in our schools where students are bullied, abused and subjected to violence of all sorts. A parent recently told me she cries and vomits every day after sending her daughter off to Riverside High School to be subjected to cruelty and fear.
I’m asking all parents to confidentially send me their stories. I promise to expose the underbelly of the beast you seek to cover up.
The dysfunction, cover ups, and illusion by the BOE will stop. You are just not the quality of people to whom we can entrust a $965 million dollar budget or for that matter, the lives and futures of our children.
You are devoid of real compassion for the children. It is hard to characterize your instinctive twitchings as sentient behavior. Dealing with you is analogous to that of a child attempting to teach its pet gold fish to talk Italian. You have no shame for your failures or recognition of your inabilities.
The first step in dealing with failure is a recognition that it exists. The second step is a total cleansing of the infection so that a rebuilding process may proceed.
Pamela Brown should have fired her entire executive staff as I suggested months ago. Inhibited by a board and executive staff that seek to maintain the status quo, she may not have the strength of character to do the job, but at least we must give her a fair playing field to try.
Evolution is at work all over the world, even in our urban school districts, and there may come a time when you collectively as a Board will evolve to higher life forms which could address the real problems of our schools. NOT. We won’t wait any longer. Not one more child will be deprived of the opportunity to learn and achieve because of your collective ignorance and protection of a public system that doesn’t work.
As for Ralph Hernandez, once again I ask for your resignation. Whether it be pornography or gambling on your Board provided computer; your conflicted and profligate relationship with Rumore; your self-admitted acceptance of bribes from Rumore while you boast that the teachers’ union paid for your attorney’s fees to represent you when your opponent confronted your fraudulent petitions while running for the common counsel; your dribbling like a complete idiot on national Fox News when confronted by Megan Kelly about the cosmetic surgery rider; or your treacherous alliance with Ruth Kapsiak and Roz Taylor to rescind, at the behest of Rumore, the residency requirements for teachers, you are an inept embarrassment to the citizens of Buffalo who deserve much better.
Transparency and the First Amendment are awesome tools aren’t they?
To those Board members and executive staff who may want to resign now, please do so and save us the angst of publishing our deceit, dishonesty and incompetence and pushing you out.
To Phil Rumore, your run is over. Yes, you did a great job representing the best interests of the teachers, but you did it at the cost of so many lives that were left behind. Think about the human suffering of all those kids who had the right to a fair education and the opportunity to achieve, but were deprived of that right by self-absorbed incompetents and opportunists. Thousands of children ended up with dysfunctional lives because you were smarter than those with whom you had to deal. It's not much of a legacy, is it Phil?
We have you in our cross hairs and we are coming for you.
In fact, you already know that the majority of teachers in your union want a forensic audit of the BTF to learn how you spent their money over the last 32 years. You may go to jail for that.
Don't let your arrogance and ego control you. Call it a day and leave the playing field while you can. Otherwise, it won't be pretty. The good guys always win in the end.
The next meeting will be Chapter 2.
It’s your turn Roz. For a starter the community would like to know why you, Ruth and Ralph, made a deal with Rumore to throw the children under the bus and rescind the residency statute? Were you bribed? Did Phil promise you money and other support to get you elected? Was it Florence again, looking for plausible deniability by sending you, the new girl on the block, to do the dirty deed? Yes, Roz. Bribery is a crime. Make sure you call Phil and ask him how to respond. We’ll know when you do.
As for the rest of you, breathe as much as you can on a regular basis. Pond life must at least appear fresh.