Meet the candidates

The field running in the May 6 Buffalo Board of Education election

Candidates on key issues

Candidate Should there be more charter schools in Buffalo: Superintendent Pamela Brown should be: Should city taxpayers contribute more money to city schools: School Board members should be chosen by: Support Common Core: The most interesting thing I have in my closet:
Buccilli No Terminated Yes Voters Yes Tie-Dyed T-shirt I made in High School during AP Chemistry
Davis No Retained No Mayor and voters No Cap and gown from undergrad
Harris No Terminated Yes Voters No Two unused tickets to Cal Ripken's last game of his consecutive games played streak.
Licata No Terminated Yes Mayor and voters No My father's wedding suit
Mistretta Yes Terminated Yes Mayor and voters No My wool sweater I purchased in Iceland
Nevergold No Retained No Voters No A basket of beads
Pierce Yes Terminated No Voters Yes Shooting range targets
Quinn Yes Terminated No Voters Yes Nothing
Rodriguez No Terminated No Voters Yes My Marine Corps memorabilia.
Stokes No Retained No Voters Yes My clothes
Tolbert Yes Retained No Mayor and voters Yes All kinds of NBA clothing, shoes and gear
Wright No Retained No Voters No My fur coat

Candidate Ralph Hernandez did not complete the survey.

Stephen M. Buccilli

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Tackling challenges as an engineer, Buccilli offers 'ability to solve problems' in bid for School Board seat

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 4.5 years

Current occupation: Engineer with Watts Architecture & Engineering

Previous experience: Transportaion construction inspector with New York State Department of Transportation Transportation Construction Inspector

Education: Master's in engineering from the University at Buffalo; bachelor's in civil engineering from Clarkson University; Cheektowaga Central High School and Catholic elementary school.

Prior runs for elected office: No

Schools children have attended: N/A

Notable supporters include: N/A

Website: buccilliforbuffalo.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: Early Childhood Education is paramount in providing the foundation for students to reach their learning potential. The Magic Penny Reading program emphasizes phonemic awareness, and is able to assess strengths and weaknesses through correct pronunciation of the phonemes. We need to make available tools such as this program, so our students can begin a path to success.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: While much of the District budget is tied to mandated programs and non-transferable items, we need to review the allocation of available resources. Every option should be explored from additional partnerships with the City and other organizations to a review of District programs. We need to utilize the available District data and school based budgeting to fund target programs and professional development which address the needs at each specific school.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: 1. CTE Program- Partnerships and apprenticeships should be expanded and developed so that the education of our students can be leveraged with the support of the Community. I will engage students by working with the business community to identify additional programs with the necessary curriculum and training requirements to meet today's career opportunities. 2. We must provide a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders. It is critical to develop detailed plans, which anticipate, accommodate, and respond to the education of our students. 3. Transparency, we need to overcome the sense of distrust and lack of communication with the Community. I will be straightforward, both providing and requesting information.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Pro Dr. Brown's transfer to school based budgeting, if such staffing is done with proper supervision and the use of data analysis, would be a step in the correct direction. I commend the administration's collaboration with Say Yes Buffalo" to provide support to at-risk children. Con It is clearly observed that parents are concerned with Dr. Brown's lack of communication and proactive management. Such distrust was magnified when administration employee certification requirements were sidestepped. These events and limited transparency have deepened the wedge between Administration and stakeholders. We need meaningful involvement and an effective partnership with all our stakeholders for student growth to be achieved.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood

Criterion-based schools: Expand

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The administration of each school.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Maintain at current length

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Open-Minded

My pet peeve: Lack of respect

My most nagging fear: Losing what you believe in

Intend to raise for campaign: $1,000

Signature help: Friends, Family and my left & right foot.

Bills or Sabres: Sabres, season ticket waiting list since 2009

Weck, wings or neither: Wings

Favorite pizza: Vera Pizzeria

Favorite hang-out: Home

Samuel P. Davis

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Attorney would use troubled background to reach kids early

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 15 years

Current occupation: Self-employed attorney who also works with the Dolce Panepinto law firm.

Previous experience: Worked at Pratcher & Associates and for a Rochester law firm; also was a high school substitute teacher in Brooklyn.

Education: Law degree from University at Buffalo, bachelor's in political science from Western Illinois University; attended business school at Canisius College; graduated from public schools in Illinois.

Prior runs for elected office: None

Schools children have attended: One kindergartner attending School 81.

Notable supporters include: Grassroots (Democratic Party faction tied to Mayor Byron W. Brown), Citizen Action (affiliated with New York State United Teachers), School Board member Florence Johnson, Samuel A. Herbert (East Side community activist), Clarence Lott (East Side Political Network), Democratic Council member Demone Smith, former School Board member Kinzer Pointer

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Elect-Attorney-Samuel-P-Davis-for-BPS-Board/674395082599322

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: The programs offered at Promise Academy Charter in Harlem, New York, and Fenger High School in Chicago, Illinois, have many of the needed components. These schools have taken steps to address the social/emotional needs of students. Pressures that come with parental schedules dominated by work, vice or lack of maturity or cyclical dysfunction must be addressed.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: We must look at monies being spent on agencies/consultants outside of the district and find ways to keep those monies within. We must establish a system which prorates monies allotted to a specific child who leaves the district so that the remainder of those monies return to the district with that child should they return from another institution. We must demand/lobby for our fair share of resources from Albany.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: To highlight the needs of failing students, by actually engaging students and teachers in their respective schools and establishing best practices. To improve working relationships among board members by personally engaging each board member, identifying their priorities and working to get to a point where they can live with what's being done. To create an environment which allows us to observe what the current leadership is capable of in the absence of conflict and aid in agreed upon goals of the Board. (See point two)

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: While there have been some issues with transparency, I believe that given the "nativist" backlash she has endured and the problems that she inherited upon starting her tenure, there has been some growth in terms of community outreach and establishment of infrastructure. I believe that her premature removal would polarize the community, creating and environment ripe for the further privatization of our public school system.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Expand.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 4+ weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Blunt

My pet peeve: Liars

My most nagging fear: I won't catch a lie before it's too late

Intend to raise for campaign: $10,000 to $20,000

Signature help: Friends and associates of mine at the time of submission

Bills or Sabres: Sabres (Because they actually play in Buffalo)

Weck, wings or neither: Steak & Sausage Hogie

Favorite pizza: La Nova's

Favorite hang-out: Home

Adrian Fitzgerald Harris

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Harris aspires to School Board from perspective of a parent seeking cooperation, accountability

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 45 years

Current occupation: Lancaster Central School District teacher's aide for eight years

Previous experience: Child therapy aide, teacher assistant and trainer at organizations ranging from Child & Family Services to Autistic Services Inc. and Heritage Centers.

Education: Master's in special education, Grand Canyon University; bachelor's in criminal justice, SUNY Brockport; a graduate of Southside High School and other Catholic and Buffalo Public Schools

Prior runs for elected office: Ran unsuccessfuly for Park District Board of Education seat in 2013.

Schools children have attended: Has a child at South Park High School and two in a City of Tonawanda elementary school.

Notable supporters include: N/A

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: Cincinnati School District has implemented proven instructional approaches while nurturing a culture in which administrators, teachers, parents, and community groups closely communicate and work together as teams. Has improved both test scores and graduation rates since 2003.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: 1) Bring all unions into serious negotiations to settle wage and benefit issues. 2) Request more financial backing from the City of Buffalo. 3) Have the city comptroller do a top to bottom audit of the school system to identify waste.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Advance the idea of shared responsibility for problems and solutions. Increase Career & Technical Educational that will lead to immediate employment or the need for limited training after high school. Promote the neighborhood school as a necessary element in the success of that community, and the education of that community's children.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: There is a disconnect between her and the district's stakeholders, particularly with the parent group which I have said in the past I disapprove of. She is obviously trying to turn that around now, improving her accessibility to the community - but we need to really feel it, which we don't right now. In public, Dr. Brown comes off as a very mild mannered, professional person, but I'm told by people who I trust, that behind closed doors she can be mean spirited, and people see that as disingenuous. I know that some people want to be patted on the back for waking up in the morning, but she needs to exude a more collaborative demeanor and promote that atmosphere to the people around her. She needs to inspire people, not seem above them.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Maintain.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do not

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 2-4 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should not

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Weird

My pet peeve: Lack of character

My most nagging fear: That my children will be affected negatively by my divorce from their mother.

Intend to raise for campaign: $5,000

Signature help: Friends and family to this date.

Bills or Sabres: Bills

Weck, wings or neither: Both

Favorite pizza: Pepperoni

Favorite hang-out: Anywhere I can enjoy nature

John B. Licata

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Board candidate Licata sees Medical Campus, other themed schools as leading to careers

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 49 years

Current occupation: Lawyer at Erie County Water Authority and at-large Buffalo Board of Education member.

Previous experience: Attorney at Hogan Willig.

Education: Law degree, master's in history, bachelor's in history with a minor in education, all from the Univesity at Buffalo; School 19 and City Honors graduate.

Prior runs for elected office: Elected to Board of Education at-large seat in 2009

Schools children have attended: Four children attending Olmsted at Kensington, Olmsted School 64, City Honors and School 17 Early Childhood Center.

Notable supporters include: Buffalo Teachers Federation, Citizen Action (affiliated with New York State United Teachers), Greg Olma (Democratic former Erie County legislator),Democratic state Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, Democratic North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., former School Board member Louis Petrucci

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: Reduce class sizes for quality instruction. Extending school day. Renewable Energy program at South Park to become a high school embedded in the Riverbend Project to develop CTE; Bennett Banking & Finance as 7-12 school with Buffalo Promise Neighborhood; mandatory kindergarten program with a kindergarten jump start program, enthusiastic support for pre-K; Buffalocus to transform vacant property surrounding schools.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: Close Pinnacle school and transfer students into programs in the district. Pinnacle cannot remain at its current location because the building does not meet minimum safety regulations for a public school and district cannot afford to maintain the program. Convince City of Buffalo to share proceeds of sale of school buildings turned back to city control. Convince City of Buffalo to increase contribution to meet rising costs of fuel, energy, health care. Terminate unqualified central office administrators. Seek increase in grants and aid from New York State.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: 1. Improve the atmosphere within the schools so parents feel welcome and engaged as part of their children's education process to provide continuity of education environment between home and school. 2. Revive the cultural programs that permanently enrich the lives of students and the community. 3. Cultivate an identity of purpose for each school that will focus the students upon developing their skills and talents toward accomplishing their dreams.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Brown lacks leadership skills to create an environment of capacity and success among stakeholders. She arrived with Say Yes, the Buffalo Billion, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, and community faith in her credentials. Brown repeats mistakes. She often alienates and marginalizes the parents in the district: ignoring consequences in not informing parents for MLK, Bennett, Pinnacle/Harvey Austin Merger; unreachiable during a crisis; withholding material information from the school board; insisting that certain administrators were the best-qualified persons for the job yet they did not have those qualifications and have not demonstrated the stated skills; does not provide consistent support to principals and teachers through central office

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Expand.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Keep as is

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Advocate

My pet peeve: Hypocrisy

My most nagging fear: Not doing enough

Intend to raise for campaign: Unknown

Signature help: personal friends as of today

Bills or Sabres: BPO

Weck, wings or neither: Weck

Favorite pizza: La Nova

Favorite hang-out: Home

Wendy S. Mistretta

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Mistretta offers a 'mom voice' in call for change in Buffalo schools

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 20 years

Current occupation: Unpaid leadership positions

Previous experience: Parent facilitator at International School 45; served on nearly 20 School 45 and district-wide committees over the past five years; was director of faith formation at St. Louis Church; was assistant director of international education at Buffalo State College.

Education: Doctorate in higher education from University at Buffalo; master's in student personnel administration from Buffalo State College; bachelor's in international management from Pace University; graduate of Falconer public schools.

Prior runs for elected office: Ran unsuccessfully for North District Board of Education seat in 2013.

Schools children have attended: Son attends City Honors, daughter attends International School 45.

Notable supporters include: Joseph Totaro (Republican committee member), Mike Madigan (Grand Island Republican committee member who ran for Congress), Rus Thompson (local Tea Party leader), Jessica Bauer Walker (District Parent Coordinating Council leader)

Website: www.drwendymistrettaforbuffaloboe.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: In order to have neighborhood schools, we need to ensure our schools are properly administered and supported to guarantee that every child can attend a school that's healthy, safe, and high quality - from the bottom-up. Several school districts throughout the country are already successfully working on a community schools model (i.e., City Connects in Boston, Ma., and Tulsa Area Community Schools Initiative).

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: Every option should be on the table to close this deficit AND ensure that every dollar is being spent directly on our children. Increasing Revenue -- The Board must actively support the elimination or reduction of the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Also, we must demand that NYSED and US Dept of Education shoulder the burden of CCLS and related assessment costs. Decreasing Costs -- We need to cut spending on administrative costs, including personnel and building usage. Lastly, we need to negotiate a new teachers' contract that relieves taxpayers of the cosmetic rider burden.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Parents must be meaningfully involved in school-based and district-wide decisions affecting their children. The Board can begin this by supporting the Maximizing Parent Engagement Plan developed by the DPCC and the Office of Parent and Family Engagement, which must be returned to appropriate staffing levels. ALL of our children need to be able to attend schools close to home which provide healthy, safe, and high quality learning environments. See my answer above for more information about Community Schools. The Freedom to Teach and Freedom to Learn must be returned to our schools and classrooms. The current system of school-based budgeting only allows a small portion of funds to be spent at the discretion of the SBMTs.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: After one and a half years in Buffalo, Dr. Brown continues to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the urgent need of our children to receive a healthy, safe, and high quality education. While she states that her goal is to provide a"World Class Education for Every Child," she is unable to articulate a description for what this looks like, or a plan for achieving it. Her words and actions indicate that she is satisfied with the pace of improvement. Despite pleas from parents, she continues to marginalize us in decision-making, resulting in interventions from NYSED. Teachers are frustrated with the lack of classroom supports. And, she dismisses the concerns of the community, to the point that they attempted to buy out her contract.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Reduce/ eliminate.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 1-2 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Helped

The word that best describes me is: Determined

My pet peeve: Bigotry (and surveys without enough space to answer questions)

My most nagging fear: Harm coming to my children

Intend to raise for campaign: Enough to cover palm cards, lawn signs, and a mailing

Signature help: Everyone helping me is a friend or a friend-of-a-friend.

Bills or Sabres: Bisons

Weck, wings or neither: Wings

Favorite pizza: Mister Pizza

Favorite hang-out: Spot Coffee

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
After tumult as School Board president, Nevergold wants to see 'progress continue'

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 67 years

Current occupation: Retired

Previous experience: Co-director of the Uncrowned Queens Institute, director of student support services at the University at Buffalo's Educational Opportunity Center, regional director for Berkshire Farm, CEO of Planned Parenthhood of Buffalo and Erie County, vice president for children's services at Friendhship House. Began career as a French teacher and counselor in the Buffalo Public Schools.

Education: A doctorate in counseling education and master's degrees in French education and counseling education from the University at Buffalo, and a bachelor's in French education from Buffalo State College; a graduate of East High School and other Buffalo Public Schools.

Prior runs for elected office: Ran unsuccessfully for North District Board of Educatation seat in 1993; appointed at-large member of Board of Education in 2012.

Schools children have attended: Granddaughter at Montessori and had children at BUILD Acedemy, Hutch Tech and City honors

Notable supporters include: Buffalo Teachers Federation, Grassroots (Democratic Party faction tied to Mayor Byron W. Brown), Citizen Action (affiliated with New York State United Teachers), George K. Arthur (Democratic former Common Council president), Clarence Lott (East Side Political Network), Frank Mesiah (president, Buffalo branch of the NAACP), former interim superintendent Yvonne Hargrave, former School Board member Kinzer Pointer, School Board members Florence Johnson, Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Sharon Belton Cottman

Website: www.uncrownedcommunitybuilders.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: The Rochester School District has a program to support the integration of refugee children into the school system. Students stay for up to two years of intensive support in the acquisition of English language facility, for example. The program serves grades 4 - 12. Support is offered to parents to help them acquire English, social supports and learn to navigate social institutions to better support their children.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: The District should continue its advocacy efforts with the State and the City. The City allocates approximately an 8% contribution to the school budget. One way that the City could contribute is to share in the proceeds from the sales of closed school buildings. The District has not successfully negotiated a contract with its two principle unions - teachers and principals - in 9 years. I believe that union leaders want to negotiate a new contract as much as the District. I would advocate moving forward with union negotiations with renewed urgency. Cut costs that do not affect classroom.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: First priority is to ensure that each child receives an excellent education; a comprehensive program including standardized and customized learning environments; incorporating parental/community engagement, holding staff and Board accountable and maintaining stability. Support the urgency to expand and enhance proven programs that successfully support student achievement, e.g. Universal Pre-K. Second priority is the fiscal health of the District. We have continual and escalating deficits and must find ways to address systemic and categorical funding problems. Third priority, be a voice and a vote to maintain stability. Progress is being achieved under this current administration and would like to see that progress continue.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: I believe that Dr. Brown's pedagogical knowledge and experience in school turnaround are strengths resulting in positive indicators of progress in the District; as well as her persistence and resilience. She has a keen sense of accountability. Though quiet, she's assertive and has the ability to make difficult, unpopular decisions to move the District forward, e.g. reorganization. Accessibility has been an ongoing criticism. Early in her administration, this was an issue but she has made significant change.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Maintain.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 1-2 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should not

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Dedicated

My pet peeve: People who like to complain but won't work to change things

My most nagging fear: That our children will not learn their history and not understand their heritage.

Intend to raise for campaign: $10,000

Signature help: Grassroots Inc., Florence Johnson, Mary Ruth Kapsiak, Sharon Belton Cottman, Charley H. Fisher; working with numerous community individuals.

Bills or Sabres: Bills

Weck, wings or neither: Wings

Favorite pizza: Pepperoni

Favorite hang-out: Home

Patricia Bowers Pierce

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
With law enforcement background, Pierce takes aim at truancy on agenda to help at-risk students

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 30 years

Current occupation: Confidential criminal investigator for the Erie County District Attorney's Office for seven years.

Previous experience: Carnival Cruise Lines investigator; chief of patrol services for the Erie County Sheriff's Office; a detective in the Buffalo Police Department.

Education: A graduate of the Central Police Services Training Academy, Mount Mercy Academy and St.Thomas Aquinas; also attended Alfred State College and Bryant and Stratton Business Institute.

Prior runs for elected office: None

Schools children have attended: No school-age children; two adult children attended Catholic schools and Frontier High School.

Notable supporters include: Buffalo Niagara Partnership (business group), William Nowakowski (Republican chairman in Buffalo), David Pfaff (Democratic operative tied to Steve Pigeon), Dennis Ryan (former Republican Chairman in Buffalo), Greg Olma (Democratic former Erie County legislator),Democratic state Assemblyman Michael P. Kearns, Amy Friedman (president of Buffalo ReformED), School Board member Carl Paladino, Ralph Lorigo (chairman of the Erie County Conservative Party), Republican committee members Joseph Totaro, Sandra Waugaman-Beck and Tracey McNerney

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: The School of Hospitality at Emerson Commons should be replicated in other Career Technology Education (CTE). Building programs that students want to do and allowing school leaders the ability to manage their building is vital for a successful school. Look for ways to accommodate more students to offer them a variety of different paths so when they leave school they can go right into jobs.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: Reduce administrative positions. Close unoccupied schools. Possibly consolidate services with other school districts.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Develop a multi- disciplinary team of professionals working within the school district to address the needs of students in crisis beginning with attendance. Truancy not only is a school problem but a community problem as well. Hold parents responsible for sending their kids to school. Intervene as soon as possible to insure education is the pathway to success and avoid incarceration. Combine the efforts of law enforcement, probation, child protection, social services, mental health, and a dedicated courtroom focusing on parental and student problems starting in the home.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Bringing people in from the outside has not proven to benefit the students or the district. The hiring of her Administrators has been a failure. Only 12 of Buffalo's 57 public schools are considered to be in "good standing". It is the board's responsibility to work to impose the highest degree of accountability for the Superintendent and staff to make sure all schools have strong academic programs to meet the needs of children enrolled in the district. Her communication and transparency with board members has been poor. Her lack of leadership and ideas for turning around failing schools are weak.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Maintain.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The administration of each school.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 1-2 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Not significantly affected

The word that best describes me is: Positive

My pet peeve: Slow play on the golf course

My most nagging fear: Middle of the night phone call

Intend to raise for campaign: As much as I can

Signature help: Friends, family, neighbors, democrats, republicans, Dave Kelly, Carl Paladino

Bills or Sabres: Bills

Weck, wings or neither: Neither

Favorite pizza: Imperial & Brickoven Bistro

Favorite hang-out: Spot Coffee at Delaware & Chippewa

Lawrence Quinn

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Quinn seeks School Board seat to help fix 'broken' system

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 30 years

Current occupation: Self-employed

Previous experience: Served as Buffalo Sabres managing partner, CEO and arena president; worked at a New York City development partnership and as City of Buffalo economic development commissioner and for the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

Education: A bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University; graduated from Canisius High School.

Prior runs for elected office: None

Schools children have attended: No school-age children; adult children attended public school in Manhattan and Nichols School in Buffalo.

Notable supporters include: Buffalo Niagara Partnership (business group), Students First (education reform group founded by Michelle Rhee), Jamie Moses (Artvoice editor), William Nowakowski (Republican chairman in Buffalo), David Pfaff (Democratic operative tied to Steve Pigeon), Democratic North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., School Board members Jason McCarthy and Carl Paladino, B. Thomas Golisano (former owner of the Sabres), Carl J. Montante (president of Uniland Development), Robert E. Rich Jr. (chairman of Rich Products), Robert Gioia (president of the Oishei Foundation), F. James McGuire (CEO of the McGuire Group), Frank McGuire (chairman of the McGuire Group), Republican committee members Joseph Totaro, Sandra Waugaman-Beck and Tracey McNerney

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: Charter School for Applied Technologies, Tapestry Charter School, Elmwood Village Charter School all have proven records locally. Nationally, Uncommon Schools, Success Academies and Teach for America have an excellent record educating kids from the poorest backgrounds.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: Rightsize the district - 50,000 seats for 30,000 students. Renegotiate BTF contract. Greatly increase the number of charter schools.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Establish a set of governance procedures at the board level that has the result of holding the superintendent and her staff to a high level of accountability. Close and restart of failing district schools. Create a Board that can foster a real partnership between students, teachers, and parents. Which means putting an end to top down micro-managing, financial reform, and a complete restructuring of how the Board deploys its human and financial resources.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Pamela Brown's performance to date has been very poor. She has been less than forthcoming and transparent with information regarding school plans, she has not been able to build a strong administrative staff, and she does not appear to have a good grasp of the school district's finances. But most importantly, Pamela Brown has shown no inclination to be an agent or leader for change. Fairly or unfairly, Pamela Brown has become the poster child for the status quo. In a district as badly broken as ours, these are not qualities that will likely engender future success.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Expand.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The administration of each school.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 4+ weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Not significantly affected

The word that best describes me is: No such word

My pet peeve: None

My most nagging fear: None

Intend to raise for campaign: To be determined

Signature help: Various democrat, republican and unaffiliated friends

Bills or Sabres: Both

Weck, wings or neither: Neither

Favorite pizza: None

Favorite hang-out: Home

Sergio Rodriguez

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
As goal shifts from mayoralty to School Board, Rodriguez seeks to 'make a difference'

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 11 years

Current occupation: Publisher of G.I. Bill Magazine;

Previous experience: Was coordinator of veterans and military affairs at Medaille College; Erie County Veterans Services Agency deputy director; Marine Corps sergeant; volunteer with agencies ranging from Boy Scouts of America to the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

Education: Master's in organizational leadership from Medaille College; bachelor's in business management from D'Youville College; associate's in business from Medaille; graduated from Copiague, N.Y., and Dominican Republic public schools.

Prior runs for elected office: Ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Buffalo in 2013 and for Niagara Council member in 2007..

Schools children have attended: N/A

Notable supporters include: N/A

Website: sergioforschoolboard.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: The Union City, N.J., school district serves as an example that early education and early intervention works. We need to create more resources with the state's help for early intervention and refocus our efforts to early education. Universal pre-k has shown to deliver results. Early education needs to be our mantra here in Buffalo.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: To reduce our $54 million annual transportation budget we can consider segmenting the Buffalo school district into 4 or 5 different sub-districts. This would create a hybrid system of school choice and neighborhood schools. Facility costs are astronomical. Buildings that are functioning well-below capacity should be looked at for opportunities where schools can co-locate - or whereby existing charters schools can lease out parts of the public school buildings and operate within the same structure. Eliminate the cosmetic surgery rider from the contract.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: #1: Attendance. My first objective is to increase school attendance and participation. I will propose bringing truant officers back into our school system. Parental accountability is also a key component of this initiative. Thus, truant officers will have the ability to issue summons to parents for court appearances. #2: Vocational Programs. We must enhance and increase our existing vocational programs offerings. We can do this by getting the State to help bring BOCES into the BPS. #3: Parental Involvement. Increase engagement with the Parent Portal. We need to give parents a seat at the table - literally. We have a student representative who has a seat at the table at school board meetings, why not a parent representative?

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Pros: Adoption of the new Code of Conduct. Leadership in adopting the Say Yes to Education's college enrollment program. Aggressive push for the adoption of the Parent Portal tool. Cons: Dr. Brown has increased the number of administrative staff in her department, while cutting staff from other departments. Dr. Brown has introduced last-minute proposals to the board without prior knowledge, thereby not giving the Board enough time to make an informed decision. Proposal to hire an additional Public Relations person to the tune of $115,000 annual salary. The hiring of two uncertified top-level administrators who, along with newly appointed Deputy Superintendent, all worked at the same consulting firm raise doubts about the hiring process.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Maintain.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Keep as is

School year: Extend 1-2 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Helped

The word that best describes me is: Determination

My pet peeve: Seeing people being held back from their true potential by injustice and corruption.

My most nagging fear: That there are children that will not see the types of opportunities that I've had presented to me in my life.

Intend to raise for campaign: $15,000

Signature help: My organization is doing it independently.

Bills or Sabres: Sabres

Weck, wings or neither: Why not both?

Favorite pizza: Imperial Pizza

Favorite hang-out: Spot Coffee

Gizelle Stokes

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Stokes would bring social work background to Buffalo School Board

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 31 years

Current occupation: King Center Charter School counselor the past two years.

Previous experience: Tapestry Charter High School, school counselor; Vera House, victims advocate; On Point For College, college advisor; University at Buffalo, admissions advisor; Peventionfocus, educator.

Education: Master's in social work, Virginia State University; bachelor's in social work, Syracuse University; Bennett High School graduate, attended Catholic elementary school

Prior runs for elected office: None

Schools children have attended: Has a child at School 64.

Notable supporters include: Grassroots (Democratic Party faction tied to Mayor Byron W. Brown)

Website: www.gizelle4schoolboard.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: I think we need to replicate models that deal with children as individuals and allow for more hands on experiences. Allowing children the opportunity to be themselves and think critically. We need to implement models that allow for an all hands on deck approach to school/district administration so that all have a stake and are held accountable.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: The district should be collaborating more with community stakeholders in a systematic way. There are 11 colleges and universities in our region that could be providing supportive service enhancements across the district if strategically tapped into and monitored properly. These collaborations should also include agencies to greater meet the needs of students and families across the district.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Improving student achievement, including improving graduation rates and establishing authentic student assessments. We need to make sure that student assessments reflect student growth and not just deficits. Creating and maintaining a balanced budget that supports students and teachers. Teachers and parents should be included in the decision when deciding the resources used for their classrooms and their children. Implementing positive behavioral and social emotional interventions that address discipline concerns. I plan to use best practices for improving attendance and parent engagement.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: There have been glimmers of hope and promise with Dr. Pamela Brown's performance with the percentage points increase in graduation rates in June coupled by the rise in college attendance as reported by our local community colleges in enrollment. There has also been slight mobility with school attendance rates this year compared to years prior. I do however still believe that there is a need for grater accountability across the district and would like to work toward that end.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Choice.

Criterion-based schools: Expand.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do not

School day: Extend

School year: Keep as is

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Not significantly affected

The word that best describes me is: Strong

My pet peeve: Peanut butter in the jelly jar or vice versa

My most nagging fear: God didn't give us the spirit of fear.

Intend to raise for campaign: Enough to get my message out

Signature help: Grassrroots, Sam Davis, Dr. Barbara Nevergold, family and friends,

Bills or Sabres: Go Bills!

Weck, wings or neither: Wings

Favorite pizza: Just Pizza pepperoni pizza with honey sesame crust

Favorite hang-out: Family dinner nights at my aunties house

Bernard A. Tolbert

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
Used to making tough decisions, board candidate Tolbert reluctantly loses confidence in Buffalo school chief

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 41 years

Current occupation: Retired

Previous experience: Senior VP/security for the National Basketball Association and, before that, HSBC USA bank; security manager for Coca-Cola; FBI special agent in charge; also did social work and taught for a year at Bennett High School.

Education: Master's and bachelor's degrees in social work from the University at Buffalo; graduate of Lafayette High School and other Buffalo Public Schools.

Prior runs for elected office: Ran unsuccessfully in Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo in 2013.

Schools children have attended: No school-age children; three adult children attended and graduated from schools in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Heim elementary and middle schools in Williamsville and Williamsville North High School.

Notable supporters include: Unity Coalition (Democratic Party faction in opposition to Mayor Byron W. Brown), School Board members James Sampson and Theresa Harris-Tigg

Website: www.bernietolbert.com

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: Replication should be rooted in assessment of Buffalo Public Schools' or other best practices. Effective teacher development/supports, talent management, and programs that translate to student outcomes should be a priority. In Denver A+ Game Changers recognizes educators and leaders who make contributions to improving schools. Chicago has an "in school court" where peers and staff implement restorative justice; it reduced suspensions by 36 percent..

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: BoE should critically examine non- instructional related expenses; only $.45 per dollar spent reaches the classroom. The Buffalo Public Schools' approx. 2,000 extra seats is underutilization leading to unreimbursed expenses; aggressive consolidation to maximize utilization needs to be considered. Central office reorganization has not produced savings and administrative overhead must be cut. SAY YES offered a financial work out process that includes a highly qualified consultant, focus meetings with all stakeholders, and in-depth remedies that would help eliminate deficits. BoE needs to accept this no cost offer.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: I'd move immediate action to revise BOE activities and policies to improve Governance, and perform the BoE self-evaluation they are obligated to but have yet to accomplish. I'd focus the BoE on student achievement by policy and procedure to ensure progress monitors and deliberation. I'd advance BoE efforts for direct two-way communication with families that is more than"telling" parents how to help with homework or when events are scheduled. I'd support policy and action that adds teacher support, work collaboratively to improve training, and realign district-wide schedules to add time in the school day for planning. I'd also refocus BoE policy to improve school leadership so teachers are better equipped to educate students.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Dr. Brown's strengths include the development of the strategic plan and a reorganization to begin to move forward. Weaknesses include unfamiliarity with the Buffalo Public Schools, the pace of change and ineffective communication with parents and the BoE, leading to a lack of support of the plan and confidence in her leadership. Currently, I don't have access to the information regarding her decisions/actions in order to fully evaluate her performance. If elected, I'd act with urgency and without reservation to become informed and make a decision that restores public confidence in the BoE and district leadership and that is in the best interest of children and parents, no matter how drastic the measure.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Expand.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The School Board.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Extend

School year: Extend 2-4 weeks

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Not significantly affected

The word that best describes me is: Considerate

My pet peeve: People using poor English and grammar

My most nagging fear: Failing those who depend on and have confidence in me.

Intend to raise for campaign: $40,000 to $50,000

Signature help: Family and friends, Unity Coalition, Joseph Golombek

Bills or Sabres: Like them both but have been a Bills season ticket holder for 28 years so gotta go with the Bills

Weck, wings or neither: Wings without a doubt

Favorite pizza: Bocce or Leonardi

Favorite hang-out: Home with family and friends

Stephon M. Wright

BUFFALO NEWS PROFILE
After student role with School Board, Wright seeks a seat with a vote

Number of years living in the City of Buffalo: 21 years

Current occupation: Youth development specialist for Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo;

Previous experience: Leader of youth group "I am the Future;" ran fundraisers to help needy families; hosted radio and public access TV shows for youth.

Education: Erie Community College student; 2012 graduate of Emerson School of Hospitality; graduate of School 71 and Hamlin Park School 74.

Prior runs for elected office: Was elected non-voting student representative on Buffalo Boad of Education in 2012. Interviewed for open board seat in 2012.

Schools children have attended: N/A

Notable supporters include: Samuel A. Herbert (East Side community activist), Adam Perry (Democratic attorney)

Cite an example of a school program (here or elsewhere) that you think should be replicated in Buffalo: I think Buffalo should replicate the success they have here with the Emerson School of Hospitality. Emerson has mixed academics with hands on to keep students' interest as well as teaching job skills. Students have better attendance and also perform better academically.

Describe two or three specific actions the district should take to help close the projected $50 million deficit for 2014-15: Actions the district could take to help close projected $50 million deficit are: look at administrative staff which Judy Elliot, distinguished educator, said was over sized and not helpful to schools, cut down on transportation costs with less busing of students, eliminate useless teacher/data coach jobs for teachers that don't work in classrooms with students, and audit the costs of special education, which is a large part of the school budget, to see if there is a way to save money there.

List the three most important things you want to accomplish if you are elected: Three most important accomplishments I wish to achieve are: 1. I want families and teachers to be treated with respect again, I want to start a committee to see how we can start a culture of respect. 2. Open the lines of communication to stop fighting between board members, by having more time to talk together as a group 3. Have more transparency, no more secrets and backroom deals, resolving to communicate better with media and community to have more input before decisions are made.

Evaluate Pamela Brown's performance as superintendent: Pamela Brown strengths and weaknesses: Her strengths - she is educated and sophisticated, can speak multiple languages and has reached out to families of English language learners. Weaknesses - she doesn't communicate well with the media, cannot separate herself from people that are controversial, and is not a superhero who can do the impossible: turn around a school district in trouble in only two years. I think it is too early to judge her performance.

Students should be assigned to schools by: Combination of choice and neighborhood.

Criterion-based schools: Maintain.

Admissions for criteria schools should be established by: The administration of each school.

I [do/do not] think the district should pay to keep schools open in the evenings: Do

School day: Keep as is

School year: Keep as is

The Board [should/should not] recognize DPCC as the sanctioned parent group: Should

I [do/do not] think the district has effectively implemented the Common Core: Do not

State interventions have [helped/hurt/not significantly affected] students in BPS: Hurt

The word that best describes me is: Outstanding

My pet peeve: People who don't treat others with respect

My most nagging fear: Losing my mother

Intend to raise for campaign: $5,000

Signature help: Family and local community members.

Bills or Sabres: Bills

Weck, wings or neither: Wings

Favorite pizza: Cheese and pepperoni

Favorite hang-out: The Oakk Room