Buffalo, NY - The recent Siena College Poll which WGRZ - Channel 2 commissioned with The Buffalo News looked at the ongoing crisis in the Buffalo school district.
And it covered some key areas of concern for surveyed residents. We spoke with school board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold for her response to the results.
A key question on the Siena Poll deals with school leadership. That concerns Buffalo School Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown. Only 19 percent gave her excellent or good ratings in job performance. Some 70 percent graded her in the fair or poor categories. And that does not really surprise School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold who says there's an image problem. Nevergold says "In the last two months or more, we haven't had an opportunity to really get a lot of positive press out about what's happening in the schools. And I think people are responding to that. I think that in the years that Doctor Brown has been here, we have had some incremental progress." Nevergold says recent attendance and graduation rates may be signs of improvement for the district.
But many city residents in the poll still question if it's up to the job. On the idea of a state takeover of the district...41 percent are in favor while 47 percent are opposed. And that worries Nevergold who says "I'm not quite sure myself at this point what a state takeover means. If may mean the abolishment of the board as you see it as we have it right now. It could mean the ability of the state to come in and re-direct staff. For myself I think that home rule is important."
Finally on extra resources for the district...49 percent support more city tax revenue for the schools while 44 percent are opposed. Dr. Nevergold responds "Whenever you talk taxes, it's always a touchy subject for many people. And so the fact that there are people who feel the schools should receive more from the city I think it's a welcome notion for me."