Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Strangely Selective Poverty in BPS

Remember when the former Board Majority -- who? -- voted to fire Rashondra M. Martin as General Counsel and bring in Edward A. Betz to replace her? Yeah you know, the guy who managed Larry Quinn's campaign when Lars ran for the Board of Education. He's also the guy fresh outta law school who was appointed as a "receiver" by disgraced State Supreme Court Judge John Michalek at the prodding of disgraced political bagman Steve Pidgeon who then turned around and demanded a $5000 baksheesh from Barrister Betz.  Michalek admitted in court that the attorney Pigeon advocated for was a recent law school graduate who had not been approved by the state courts as a qualified receiver. Nonetheless, Michalek gave him the assignment. Lacking experience and required credentials as Betz was, Michalek told Pidgeon : “We pushed it through anyway … have to give them a spec reason etc. … will figure it out … John,” Michalek emailed to Pigeon in May 2012. (Bflo News) 

In the end, Ms. Martin, who was hired by then-Superintendent Pamela C. Brown, was fired effective immediately and Cash was given the green light to negotiate a contract with Betz to take over the position at an annual salary of $160,000, which is $33,000 more than Martin was making. For those of you scoring at home, that's African American female fired by 5 white Board members 4 of them males and a politically well connected white green horn hired and handed a raise of $33,000.00 simply for showing up. I don't want to get too far off on a tangent with the racial breakdowns here but it's a bit puzzling that the African American Superintendent was in such a hurry to tuck an extra $33,000.00 into the shirt pocket of an inexperienced white guy hired to replace an experienced black female. Can you say the Good Old Boy Network is alive and well as long as you are a boy not a girl? I wonder too if this is why Board member Patti Pierce inexplicably asked if men and women were paid differently...Based on what she's seen around City Hall I can see why she'd be asking. Add to this the outrageous 4% ($11,000 or so minimum) pay bump tucked inside Kriner Cash's shirt pocket after one year and virtually nothing to brag about accomplishment wise. Consider the revelation that minority female Board members gave Cash much lower scores in private than what they'd admit to publicly and you have another case of an anti-meritocracy seemingly flinging significant amounts of cash at people who've done nothing to deserve a dime of it -- then turning their empty pockets out and making a sad clown face when it's time to pay teachers.  

Behold the flaccid rhetoric from certain "stakeholders" about teachers needing to increase test scores and get every B-Lo kid into the Ivy Leagues before they'll ever be worthy of a pay raise and you've got  enough public hypocrisy and good old fashioned political bullshit to gag an ox. Eddie Betz Esq. gets $33K for being the right guy with the right friends and Kriner Cash gets a 4% raise after ONE YEAR when he's already the highest paid urban Superintendent in New York State. Allow me to digress... When Kriner Cash was foisted on the Board by his old Ed Reform cronie Mary Ellen Elia, the minority women, the majority men and Patti Pierce all thought Dr Cash'd be swell. It was unanimous though I think Carl might have been tea partying in Paris for the vote but he was with his brothers and sisters in spirit since his attempts to run Mr. Weimer and Dr. Eberle up the middle had both been stuffed at the goal line. The magnanimity and largesse of such bon vivants as Buffalo Sabre deconstructionist Lars Quinn and Diamond Jim Sampson Presiding CEO of scandalous Gateway Longview State Audit notoriety flung an extra $60 thousand at Kriner Cash pushing his salary to $275. Former Superintendent Pamela Brown was only offered $217 but as we've seen she was just a girl so that's the way things go. Ogie Oglive was only supposed to hang around long enough to rubber stamp the rough shoddery of Carl, Lars and Diamond Jim so he got what the girl got but nothing more. Good call by the boys too cause Ogie ended up crawfishing on them. He had some wacky notion of autonomy or integrity or some such fluff they teach these saps who go to school for Education. Wise of the boys to keep his salary low since he ended up reneging on the deal they thought they'd struck when they hired him. 

If you don't see a pattern here you probably think Donald Trump respects women and Hillary is going to crack down on the House of Saud too. I see men getting unmerited pay raises when they take on jobs formerly held by women. But I guess on an up note we could say there's a tinge of color blindness in the feckless generosity of City Hallers shoving thousands of dollars in each other's pockets. In spite of many claims that Buffalo is a segregated and racist little place Kriner Cash's salary increases seemed to be A-Ok with everyone on the Board of Education. Ebony and Ivory and perfect harmony all up in here. 

If you're waiting for the punchline, as well you should be, it's this: I've heard Board members fretting about bankrupting the city and saying teachers aren't doing a very good job so why should they get a raise? Please remember the way guys like Cash and Betz were showered with benefits completely out of proportion to their contribution to children's education simply for showing up with a pulse at the interview. 
Then ask yourselves how is it we are able to open up the vault and toss stacks at these guys simply for being marked "Present" yet we cry poverty when it comes time to ante up and pay the people 
who get MF'd by teen angry agers, who buy boots and hats and notebooks for little kids, 
who bust their asses every day in a siege environment in some buildings,
who correctly pronounce the names of and celebrate the lives of the child refugees of the global village 
and quietly teach hungry overtired and angry disadvantaged kids every damned with half the materials they really need.

Remember who's doing the exhausting and endless work of teaching all of Buffalo's kids before you use words like "Bankrupt the City" and "Need to Improve before they deserve a raise..."


  1. The situation you describe Sean bears amazing similarities to the shit show in Newark. Tons of cash is readily available for know nothing administrators. Negotiations between the NTU are stalled; however, due to budgetary constraints and the district only offering teachers concessions. This is our second year without a contract. In actuality, our take home pay has decreased yearly for I can't remember how long because of higher medical insurance and pension deductions. In the meantime, King Christie is not making the pension payments he had promised. People in the know say that the public employee pension is unlikely to last ten more years. One might ask why the recipe for disaster in Buffalo shares so many commonalities with the recipe for disaster in Newark.

    Abigail Shure

  2. Ed reform paradigm. There's money for consultants and insiders and testing companies but when it comes to teachers and kids they all sprout alligator arms and a slack jawed expression.