BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A "distinguished educator" has been called into the Buffalo School District to help turn low-achieving schools around.
But Judy Elliott, who was forced upon the district by the state education commissioner, comes with a high price tag: $190 per hour and $275 per day for expenses.
On Wednesday, Elliott gave her first public interview. She only spoke for about ten minute and spoke very broadly about what she will do as a taxpayer-funded consultant for Buffalo Public Schools. Her job is to make recommendations on how to turn around the broken education system.
"My role is basically to come in right now and do an assessment of the structures and inner workings of the district, meet with the schools, and help create a plan with the district," she said.
Elliott's contract requires her to be in Buffalo for at least 25 days until the end of 2012.
She said, "I will be in Buffalo as much as I need to in order to do the things I just laid out."
Elliott is required to give the state education commissioner an action plan by mid-September to help turn around the lowest-achieving schools.
"One of the things I'm looking at is return on investment," Elliott said. "So if we have been doing programs or initiatives and we have not seen a return on investment in terms of student achievement and growth, then we have to ask the question: Why are we continuing to do such work? So those are the hard questions I'm asking."
The consultant's pay wage is higher than the superintendent's hourly rate. And some school board members were put off by the way the state forced them to hire her.
Elliott noted, "I will tell you that that contract was directly negotiated and agreed upon by the Board of Education, and I am pleased to be able to come back to western New York and help out."
She says her expertise is looking at systems and statistics and finding room for improvement. She did not share any specific changes she believes the district will make.
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