Carl Paladino wins Buffalo school board seat
Posted at: 05/08/2013 1:38 PM
By: Associated Press | WHEC.com
Outspoken developer Carl Paladino, with the same never-back-down style that propelled him to the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, has won an open seat on the Buffalo school board.
Unofficial election results posted Tuesday evening by the Erie county Board of Elections showed Paladino winning the seat with nearly 80 percent of the vote.
"We have to empower the right people, empower these principles, listen to these teachers," Paladino said during his victory speech. "If we're going ask them for longer school days to educate our kids and longer school years to educate our kids then they deserve to be paid for it."
With all precincts reporting, Paladino had received 2,543 votes. His opponent, Adrian Harris, received 646 votes.
Paladino, whose 13-year-old daughter attends a private school, said earlier Tuesday the race wasn't about him.
"I'm the guy with the spotlight, and I'm going to shine that light on people and systems and programs and then the people of this community are going to effectuate the change," he said.
Since losing the governor's race to Andrew Cuomo, Paladino has resumed his role as frequent critic of those running the $900 million district responsible for educating 30,000 children, spreading blame among the teachers union, board members and superintendents.
"It's a farce from one end to the other," said Paladino, who as chairman of Ellicott Development has helped build three charter schools. He said he will recuse himself from votes about future charter schools if elected.
Paladino was one of 13 candidates vying for six open seats on the nine-member Board of Education in upstate's largest school district.
He and Harris were competing for the Park District seat in the city's south end, a district with just under 15,000 voters, according to the Erie County Board of Elections.
Harris, who has a son in low-performing South Park High School, was making his first attempt at public office.
"I just got sick and tired of all the complaints," he said, promising to pursue a more collaborative approach to problem-solving.
The district is struggling against a graduation rate that hovers around 50 percent, among the lowest in the state, and a contract dispute with the Buffalo Teachers Federation that began before the last contract expired nine years ago.