WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>Buffalo School Board Member Elect Larry Quinn

Buffalo School Board Member Elect Larry Quinn

May 11, 2014|

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Perhaps the biggest topic this past week where the elections on Tuesday and the buffalo school board and the biggest vote getter in that election was Larry Quinn. He joins us now for the entire Howard -- a little bit about that Larry thanks for coming in good morning Dave. I think in some ways the superintendent. Status. Sucked a lot of the oxygen out of the room. In some ways the voting was seen as a referendum on the -- What issue did you want to raise that you couldn't necessarily because that one obscure it. Well that that issue became symbolic of what I think that greater underlying problem is is that you have a a the district it's been stuck in the mud for a long long time. And I think although she has. Made many serious missteps in. Things that border. Malfeasance. The real issue. That I had with -- -- is that she is in an agent for changing that system -- host. So for you what was perhaps more -- a referendum on change. That's specifically channel I think brown yes she personified it but I think -- the real issue -- people are fed up with the low performance of the buffalo schools and when it means for the kids to -- in this system. And she became a personification. Of this year accent often she's a symptom but Pam brown isn't the issues that the system that we have the changes the issue. What do you think can be done I mean graduation rates that started may be to turn around a little bit. But I don't picture that is something that can be tackled immediately cast. Well -- did they fluctuate I mean they're they're up a little bit this year and it I think we've been as high as 60% in the last ten year ever they made me condemn me go up. But the reality of it is since graduation rate for Irish should be close -- percent and 56%. Asthma. It's sick that that people think that's a cause for celebration. Do you then have more magnet schools from alternatives to get kids interested in school taking them there increasing the rate that way. Yeah I think that. It's a complex problem with with lots of solutions and I think UP. Biggest. Being mean we have the changes we have to empower the people and to believe that then there animations and -- changes can be implement. I can't have a conversation with a buffalo school teacher. Without them having. Many ideas on how to fix what's wrong and classify can't implement but I can't I can't do it it's it's that that that. Oh I can do this or I can do that but I can't do it because in tennis in a step I can't do it because. Answer that you hear so often from that that you NTELOS shoot the system -- -- raining people land. And and it's in -- and when you crying business like that you know is usually a business that. He's in catering to their customers the customers are. The schoolchildren and their parents were clearly clearly not servicing them so it's needs a big over. I find it interesting that you set a business like that because there are a lot of folks that weren't advocating kind of changes you did during the campaign. That has said this race was not so much about change. Her statement about the kind of change about business interests about bringing in charter schools along -- -- from Fillmore chair president buffalo teachers union. He sent out a mailer -- here from. He sent out a mailer that basically said all of the talk about superintendent brown is a smokescreen for the larger issue of business control and charter schools let's listen. Let me take a look at the records. For example the candidates that are being. Back fondly mr. Paladino mr. Paladino has already said -- board meetings she'd like to have. All of the schools that aren't judged. Not doing well on tests turned into charter schools. He also indicated. And it was going to be commotion or did make commotion. That the board consider and other means -- is considered doing bankruptcy. To get out from underneath union contracts. -- that charter school movement and we just did a report and as you know but -- that the charter schools are doing terribly. And also. They have put some room complex at 30%. And 50% suspension right. They don't have hardly any English language learners which are obviously. Impacts on there. State tests because we don't have an English language learners were as we have 11%. Obviously -- a big difference. So two points there from him I want you everybody's a charter schools are bad and be. This whole election wasn't so much about change but about bringing in business interest business control pro charter school people. And well I am very predator and and I think that and you don't you don't think that's about to know I'm unabashed about it I think first of -- It's a joke. Go over to tapestry school riches. Probably close to 60% of their students are African American. And take a look at their waiting lists which is 15100 children. Parents know it and look goal of their in the morning in much buffalo school teachers dropping your children are there. Parents know what's good for their children. -- in this. Sort of dichotomy that they create that there are public schools and charter schools -- charter schools -- public schools only difference between the two. Is well there's number differences but the tip of the differences is who do you hired to run the school. For most of our schools we hire the BP S we have a contract with -- we hired to do it. He's done a very poor job he should be ashamed. Okay and then and probably it was a close to meet you -- percent of schools we've hired charter schools some don't work. The differences as the ones that don't work don't get renewed and we we we change. The -- teachers federation -- differentiate them but do you summary the union from teacher I really do because if they can meet all these teachers. Who are very fed up with -- they haven't had a contract content years. They don't negotiate one they just roll over the year -- the -- that harbor amendments. But they have a choice. They can sit down at the table. And they can reform their contract they can reform their relationship with the buffalo school district to make those schools that are performed to give the principles more flexibility. Over the assignment teachers and how they compete they they have that choice. And you know if this kind of pick Carl Paladino thing -- -- run Carl Paladino was quiet and for the school board in and I am in no way. Share his philosophy in education I don't and politics but he's a friend. That did the if he means when he says sit down the table. Let's deal with all these restrictions that they're placed on the assignment of teachers. We did reduce the grievance process which has become. Albatross around the neck of people trying to administer schools. Agreed to be renovated. Agreed to assign teachers that are performing well in and gets assigned features that are not. Start to deal with tenure -- that that causes. The sort of a sense of self satisfaction that doesn't meet the student. So you have a choice. And it's not about business interest you think business. Has an interest in trying to make money out the schools but what people who are in business who work in buffalo. -- -- -- -- Well it's not just the late models all these kids that are going in schools are neighbors. There's nothing more tragic I was in the other -- get him a cup of coffee and woman I don't know too well which came up to this thing kind of running. My child I was so upset I couldn't find a school that I could put my kid -- and I couldn't private is private school and she ended up getting him into a charter. But you know that we have to break down this charter vs -- they're all public school. Some of the critics of charter is look at what they financially do with the obligations that the rest of the public school system that the district proper Newton has to pay them. And says that that's sort of the dash now because it's strangling the life blood out of the schools that you want to improve rebut that. It's not it's. You're spending 900 million dollars a year in the buffalo public school system. -- the charter schools are costing us between twelve and thirteen thousand students are. Traditional schools are -- 27000. The strangling the life blood out of our. Our school system financially as we have it right size so we've got 50000 seats to educate period -- thousands we've never taken the trouble. To design a system that is properly size for the students and costing money. I have yet to hear mr. Moore talked about giving back the cosmetic writer which cost the city fortunately so concerned about funding public schools. So there has to be allowed transparency we're gonna we're gonna be in good faith negotiate a contract with the teacher's union I have talked a number of members there's been a policy for a long time that. Those discussions are not. Disclose to the public. I don't know why that is -- there may -- some legal restrictions against that but if there aren't. I want them on a website. I want to offers that the word makes the teacher's union made public. Let's get this on the table let's quit calling people names and people are socially with Carl Paladino clip lets them make it personal just cleared out their for the people who see. Eight at 30930s -- number Larry Quinn is here in school board member elect takes office in July is on the first Larry. I believe it is okay takes office on the first of July. Elected this past week to the buffalo school -- he was the number one vote getter. We'll be taking your calls after the next segment if you like come aboard we'd love to have you he said earlier you probably heard that teachers in many cases come up -- on site. I would love to -- if not only for why so -- quite sure when those examples maybe your teacher. Maybe you're someone was opposed to what mr. Quinn is saying either way we'd like to have been born Angel -- on 930s number. And along the way if you're a supporter and certainly there are many that are. We saw how the votes came out if you think he is that freshens breath of fresh air give us a ring as well they -- -- 930s number. 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Always follow label directions. -- -- -- Larry Quinn is here were opening up the phone lines for if you like to join us 8030930. Larry Quinn was the number one vote getter in the buffalo schools election this past Tuesday. He's a guy that in many ways has spoken out about the need for change and before we get the calls -- there is one other thing I wanted to reach for you Buffalo News you probably saw earlier this week. Rob Watson who is their senior minority they call -- news urban affairs programs story. Wrote a column basically that said. Race is an issue that does need to be addressed in the school and he he thinks that in many ways. The African American community will not look credibly. -- on people like you because. You're white guy telling blacks what to do let me read a quote here. He has to get a -- in gaining that -- and will be infinitely more difficult after -- campaign that broke along the same racial lines that split the current board. It also be hard after campaign was the winners created new white majority backed by Carl Paladino was racial baggage taints any when he touches. Do you think race is going to be an issue when the board the new majority takes over. Well I don't want to be I think rats writing will be hard. I I view media opportunities Nixon going to China. At a conservative Republican who who bridged the gap with the Communist regime. I'm gonna reach out to black parents I'm going to be very active in trying to get an agenda I'm gonna reach out to. The African member American members on the board who. Who were part of what if you wanna call the previous majority -- I want them to be part of the solution. I think when all said and done if we can tone down the rhetoric and talk about what is from a pragmatic point of view what do we need to do to fix schools. I think we can create a dialogue real have a common mine and and I think grass right though I think we have to make an effort to do that 8030930s. Number Steve. In buffalo pick it up for us now -- I there's Stephen yes yes go ahead you're on the air. Yes my uncle -- principal McKinley high school back when they built the and then Nolan and early seventies and he is very upset when they dismantled the vocational system because I think that's good to us if entrap the graduation rate. There's certainly students who can't afford this just being -- the community college. The second thing is he was there when -- -- no longer were in charge of this study all of lunchroom. And by giving up that. -- form of discipline. There's just been no lack of respect. In the next musical back but it seems like. That changed -- altered the student teacher dynamics. That one mr. Quinn's comments. All right well analysts and I'm Chris from vocational I think you're absolutely right -- we've we've we have some occasional schools with with -- and so forth but their criteria schools and if you don't get into those schools there's no vocational training is a solution to add more options on the table to have more upscale little schools more magnets are more -- schools. Give people -- choices so they can go to schools that they feel vested in instead of just going to there has to be amended. You know whether you have location training in -- school me and you can debate that in terms of cost and scale of economy event. They everybody's gonna hit there's cast to be a lot of choices here so. A kid gets the point where he says that come back I don't wanna go to college in my college person honest unemployment -- So. We -- reacting to said it was her father. You know yeah I that's tragically so we have to re re look at that. The study halting him not that familiar with the launch but but it sounds like a theme you mentioned earlier the idea that teachers will often come up to you and say. I'd like to acts of -- for why that they don't necessarily have the freedom to implement the kind of changes that would maybe be good. Yeah I I think that's right and I think we and then let's look around what do we need to do for teachers will part of it is we need to pay them. I think that this is certainly young teachers. We're not paying them and level in the effort they're putting in so -- that we do that. We're gonna have to find other ways. You know. Health care retirement benefits. Staff -- all those things have to change but we'll pay people more. Have asked more of teachers as and to do some things after school -- give them more money for big give them more money for the school they can and at 230 in the school year. Has to be expanded especially when kids come from low socioeconomic background. They don't have the you know when it went well -- kid gets out of school what happens here in the summer camp the frequent trips they've they've had their can education process continues. With kids whose parents are working hard and can't do that for them oftentimes they sit in front of TV set in the summer so. -- kind of look at all that stuff in recognize who. What we're dealing with. And and support. This population needs help. 8030930s. And number afternoon -- wheel chair right in the phone calls. Larry Quinn is here we're talking about the buffalo school board he was the top vote getter in Tuesday's elections bring new members the board. He takes office July 1 a lot more with him after this. It's hard line and news radio 930 WB yen. It is 10:30 good morning from the WBN newsroom I'm Alan Harris here's what's happening a buffalo native won three people on -- Hot air balloon which caught fire and Virginia. 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Paladino taking white credit for the change on the board and actually recruiting yourself most carriers. If your plan doesn't work out and regional monitor them and say this same amendments and we gave. The current superintendent. Should you guys to put this -- -- Absolutely. If I don't yes I mean you know I I'm all about that for sure the term you were just elected to is how long five years okay. Ms. brown hasn't yet partners but yet -- entry. So you'll be able to write -- biker. These -- repair -- Virus -- -- greatest character of you know I didn't I didn't appoint -- to run the school system didn't. These -- things Cameron's. You know being ripped from me it's a simple thing as. Yes an ideal world you wanna get some bodies more time -- -- be fair to them that's okay. But we've got 27000. Kids go to school every -- and failing schools. That's my judgment is that it was besmirched your character. It's my judgment that she is not the right person that we decide that problem is an -- a bad person. Rights are having -- -- Wouldn't a responsible board member do what Boy George cart circuit back in the seventies when he went to federal court to -- The kids like its mysteries were receiving your great education. We're receiving a fair education we're responsible board member lawyer -- -- ability and probably go to federal court sort of -- -- -- -- that. Let's pay or schooling outside the public schools so some outside the charter school system I have to tell you I don't -- -- demonstrate my daughter -- -- it's -- or she college now. And I live outside the city me but I think it's sort of unfair. Secure ms. brown three years and mentally you're gonna turn things -- -- timetable I haven't -- -- people from. Anyone abuse or from his prompting how -- -- -- gonna take it really implement repair and when we'd actually see tangible. Result. This surpass. -- we restarted. And it and I mean taken office yet. Ms. Brown's from her for two years I don't know -- planners view. Bragging rights so you know I'm suggesting what we need to do -- I have been talking about what my plan as I've been saying that we've got to renegotiated teachers' contract to give the board more flexibility. We have the right size the school districts of that we have the proper mix of schools for parents which will include increases in number terms schools. We need to. Give teachers more flexibility stronger principles we we and we need to really get the input of people. That are in the classroom and giving -- many more options that are now that -- in if you did what I've done. Which is going around and talking to countless teachers and parents and students. Which you keep getting over and over and over again is. I'd like to implement this change but the central British ration won't let me so -- assist them. That is in lockdown now you don't live in a city and you're not doing when I'm doing. And you wanna be an apologist for camera on and that's great I'm I'm -- -- My questions viewers are Smart. It's you know you've got these -- you've rightly out of this year which haven't poets and I'm sure report you'll -- out there and sent one of these spring. There you said I want to -- is gonna take owner and -- -- -- -- -- -- it's so. Shouldn't we know that right now upfront shouldn't picture -- -- -- in its equity partners -- that was used when it through. Well they okay and as I -- -- -- number -- viewers I think we're gonna happen every we're gonna have results and and plans very quickly. But I'm not saying that camera around should've turned it around in two years I guess when I'm -- his camera on was the right person in the first place to do this. I can take somebody and put him in a position and say -- we give five years. To see if they can do a -- if I know that person isn't qualified and capable it does nobody any good including that person to leave him in that position. Panel -- who got your point before lets go are you saying that if if it takes Larry five years that giving Pamela brown three is unfair. That's exactly what -- tropical sensing camera when -- twenty years and that's my point well let me think as part mr. -- -- -- -- -- are there. I was gonna Karl pellet you know yourself look at it hurts me but I'm wondering Monday is has none of education that she does not want a yes. And obvious as. Sir would you -- when he views this as -- -- yes now you -- That review. -- education. And that she does a relating to get your commission urged over. But you'll know what that would be like. Require coming into -- -- organization or reject it do. You'd think they have respect for public. Well you know we disagree on camera around and I don't know what else we can talk about the -- indeed do you feel that. Three years is enough. I'm I can't really liked what he says -- longer I think twelve months is enough. To articulate a plan which she snapped on I think two years is enough to start to implement change whether you get the results. Alternately in two years that's debatable but it's been two years we haven't seen plan we haven't seen any. Change we -- we've basically seen in -- status quo but more importantly we've seen. A lot a lack of transparency and honesty in the dealings of the work that's not debatable all over the buffalo new. Let's talk more about the superintendent before -- a feather in a couple -- here quickly tell me how you see this playing out. July 1 the votes -- there she's possibly removed may be some sort of bio maybe some back and forth negotiation how do you see that that. And I think we get their first conceived and I'm one of nine board members -- think it has -- -- discussion with all mine is through. What we do with the leadership the school board I've been my position clear but I'm one vote of nine people there has. Been a lot of talk about the idea of having sort of a calming down period an interim superintendent. With a fixed period of time in mind some someone who can come in and just sit there and take care of things while the building has done. Do you think that's a way to go after she's gone. Well it's certainly one of the options again and I don't wanna get too far ahead of myself here -- that I really want to have a discussion with the other a board members and look at all our options is certainly one of the good ones so that the list of questions and hear about names -- you're not gonna go. Well yet this is not. Smart for me to do that I think we're gonna have a committee on the board that we'll deal with this I'm not even from going to be on the committee I'm just. Really expressing my view I think people are entitled to what I believe in because I'm here. But but what actually happens this is the function of nine people stand in Rochester pick it up for us hi. I. I can only say this -- -- school boards common goal. And unfortunately. We have a representative government which means we don't capable than anything we evil people in. Hoping that they do what they want. That I attend -- it and grandiose ideas. But they can't seem to get together and make it work and being a representative government and you can see what happened in congress they're not doing what we voted amended do. What's gonna make to school board get together it was added policy actions and make something happen and I went from time and time again. Come in and just fall on her face. Yeah I hear expressing their frustration has been going on a long time in it and you know license from the began running across not a politician I'm not this is -- partisan issue for me I'm very willing. To listen I think the alternate test which the previous caller is talking about is what he would do to fix education for kids and that's the only thing that anybody should be talking about. There is no other in my mind there's no other horse in this race. Just -- point do you think there is enough consensus there are now that changes possible. Well I think we we clearly have five people that are very willing to change I think that we can get. More of their board members to buy into that change once it's articulated once is I think you use your term there is settling down period and you know the whole. The motion of the political race subsides and we start talking returners so I'm hoping that happens and committed to doing. John and Rochester your turn now -- They gave you know -- area. What is -- like actually did it make the election where election in November with the rest of the elections that would I think be a huge. Positive thing the other thing is you're. I I agree with you -- your your policy in the charter schools we got a guy here and righteous rebellion Joseph Klein leading the fight for charter schools there and has actually. I had good results probably coach speak with them to have an already beat this thing you're up against it's it's so. 3800 pound gorilla in the room that is. The fact that. Well. These teachers unions. The end. The structure of government would would you know you're -- these -- -- to work state as Hancock the system where. The public unions I get the system and -- that they -- you'd travel and in fact that we don't have a voucher system that would really create a competitive atmosphere of shall private. Private school. Maybe -- advocate in this -- kind of above your pay grade right now but every case for the department of education for New York State. Our overseas. Private competition into the mix like. In the nursing home industry which is worked out pretty well also I think I'd like to feel that I'd like -- -- -- and. You think it's an idea that would -- -- the system up enough to bring the kind of change you want. Yeah I mean at first -- -- there's probably no. More unions centric area of the country the New York City. And their charter movement has flourished there and what it's done I believe is. Cause the competition you're talking about -- that the teachers union in New York is actually acquiesced and a lot of issues and signed a contract something they've not done here in buffalo. On I I think we have to create an environment. Where and let's not call charges just called animation we're different approaches are taken used the term menu earlier yes a -- it's it -- And I talked to a lot of parents in inner city and think about. That tragedy of this you you you grow up in in an environment where made you don't have the economic resource as somebody like it. Where can send my kids -- whatever school want. -- -- force. -- a new school it's almost you know it's almost like to prison sentence and. That's so wrong. I wanna ask you a little bit vulnerable part of rod -- going to earlier in the Buffalo News was the idea of -- buying and he was talking sporadically about a buy in from the minority community. But -- buying it if we devolved into this menu system. Where you have. And vocational school over here a school front reporters over there performing arts over here right -- whatever went where you have. A lot of different options don't she would then require. Kids and parents to be able to open up that -- you to really have the passion and say this is what I want I. I last year and -- -- and I want contract. Ball won't fall apart when we look at the amount of parental involvement we have right now. I believe no. Time but look let's again look at look at a couple of things. Parents always vote with their feet tall trees. Because the most precious thing man literature American and the most precious thing they can do for their child -- given an indication I think no one would argue that point. So. What you're seeing with with. The district parent council which is just upset beyond belief is that there they're demanding the -- in part comes. From and I think -- column about white dirty -- dictating to people what they and I think I believe and that's home -- capsule right what we need to do. Is engaged to parents who say here's what we're thinking what are you thinking. Implement the plan and then water will seek its own levels so if you start to provide those options and those options are viable one for parents they'll die and the mine. But I think given that the magnet system or the menu system accuser your your area vision. Doesn't it require parents who are looking at entrance exams are looking at what kind of kid is going to go to what school the -- beyond the system. Us at the charter system doesn't necessarily. In buffalo that charter system is is a blind lottery. What it does have though is it allows -- the policy if you have a child and Tim tapestry school in first grade and then their sibling comes along in first grade they -- it's go to that school which is that's another issue. Parents have got kids and skipped school all over the city think about Carter's apparent it is to go out and deal with your kid to get in the school wanted to in the got a drop -- three different locations. -- their parents though for home. They send their kids to charter school because they have vested in the process they believe their kidneys the education they've picked the charter school. Critics even say the charges in that regard I've been pre selected for enthusiastic parents and kids. On the other hand you have some parents that probably don't get up and get their kid out of the door in the morning. If you devolved to this menu system. What happens -- second category -- they just not participate because. There are more choices -- from government requires someone to make a choice a choice that I'm guessing maybe they wouldn't make. Well I think first of all you have to create an environment where it's easier for the parent to become involved example interest Hughes was where you've got. Three children and when kids can attempt Christian school and other kids on the other side of town and think about what that does to your ability to participate. But let's face it there will be a certain percentage of parents that don't participate. That's true and everything we do. But if you create an environment. Where the majority are parents can parent kids that are in their own my children went to a public school in New York it was a very diverse school. And what started happening there was. As a parent you got to know while the other kids soon so there was a kid and there are a couple of kids who. Had a tough situation -- it on the street these Iraqis to depict the kid up and bring him to baseball again in my Little League despite. It and it became a -- I you know anyone you guys are conservative radio show and it -- a -- but to quote Hillary Clinton takes a village knows the terrible phrase it is personal use. But it does take that you've got to have a community of people. Were looking out for each other so there are going to be kids whose parents. Either can't or won't help out but the other parents can. Mike in Lancaster -- for us -- Yes. Earlier in the conversation has. That this has -- writer came up and hit that -- it has been changed and we negotiated as many of those. Things that were included did meet the big splash all over five years ago or how many years -- and they've made them optional if you want to repay from yourself. They have a basic Gregor and and they they have basic plan and and -- the writer probably -- systems that you have -- yourself. -- procedures. What this school I agree wholeheartedly that the pension system and benefits if you re negotiated pretty teachers. And I also -- deserve a raise because they do -- parents do need the -- challenging gap to two. Actually one in approximately five children in the school here some type of that a disability but they may have reasons. And right. Languages and all of all that extra work -- there its mandate to courtesy your case be paid for by somebody gets what are you can't say what we spent 50000 dollars child. In buffalo. In you can send some reviews and Barton for testimony or some other private school it's very special. But they don't realize the fact that so many of these children are pure orange and so many ways that you need special feeling for them. Mike that the clock is how my friend here any declaring the response we can move up I think you're right I mean you can't it's not an apples to apples comparison you're here right. But then again. What we've spent specialist on. Is he is often things that if the school work itself function better you witnessed shortly after but you're right there are special -- in the district. They have to be met. I'm not suggesting permanent that we can educate the kids for 151000 dollars -- -- I'm just trying to draw the comparison that when I think the earlier caller was saying that. The charter system was training in the public school system -- you know it's country. It's cheaper. I I I want to ask a little bit of questions -- the school board just for a quick second witness that we're already late term -- newscast will be coming up after the commercials. I think a lot of people think -- you before the school board race. As the managing partner of the sabres right I think back to in my days as an intern just learning journalism at City Hall. When you're Jimmy Griffin's development commissioner. Talk a little bit about. What they -- Quinn's been doing since he fell out of the public guy. As the managing partner of the sabres where all of a sudden I look at it says that he's back but but it's interesting you know. -- aftermath I think one is the you know like some people know lawmakers heard recently. Really took it easy for about a year and relieved to get LT. I've spent a lot of time in class myself I went to Europe and the leader and really was went back disputes the use them in language. I also produced the movie with some public school kids hear about the inquiry green called Romans which is a great film that. It's shameless plug it will be making will be premiering this to line in buffalo. So I've been pretty active. -- have been up really early in the public spotlight. Yeah I don't you know believe it or not I don't like the public's spotlight I don't. Doing this kind of work you can avoid it you've got to communicate to the public that but I've done a lot of things in my premise that the during we are way overdue for Africa will take that pause now news on the other subtler things and they say thank you.