BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) – One day after the New York State Education Department reported that 75 percent of Buffalo students can’t read and write proficiently at grade level, and 80 percent can’t proficiently perform math at grade level, the Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools says he’s giving raises to his executive team.
Dr. Kriner Cash says the state’s report is unfortunate timing and shouldn’t reflect on the school district’s administrators.
He said his reasoning for giving these 33 employees a raise is because of their contributions to district-wide improvements over the past four years that he’s been at the helm of Buffalo Public Schools.
“This is not to be conflated with graduation rate or with test scores or anything like that. That is inappropriate and unfair,” Cash said.
On paper, it looks, on average, like a 5 percent raise for the upcoming year, but Cash describes it as a 1.9 percent raise for each of the past four years that they’ve helped implement his legacy “Education Bargain” plan.
The Buffalo School Board approved it 8-1 on Wednesday.
“We have to attract good talent and keep good talent,” Cash told reporters on Friday.
To support the raises, Cash says he and his team reduced the amount of schools at risk of state receivership from 25 to 3. They’re slowly increasing graduation rates, and they’ve reduced healthcare and legal costs.
Cash says the poor state assessment scores are not his team’s fault.
“I was not happy about yesterday’s state assessment scores of our grades 3 through 8. I fully expected a 7 percent increase in ELA and a 5 percent increase in math,” Cash said.
Instead, Buffalo actually went down in Math and went up just over one percent in English and Language Arts for totals of about 21 and 25 percent proficiency.
Statewide, 3rd through 8th grade students averaged 47 and 45 percent proficiency, respectively.
“The state, overall, is a F,” Cash said.
Cash wants to get Buffalo Public Schools up to 85 percent proficiency in Math and ELA – an ambitious goal of four times what it is now.
News 4 asked how he plans to get there.
“We have a full plan underway. With that, again it’s called the Education Bargain, but in instruction specifically, we have had four major instructional priorities for ELA and for Math across the district, and we’re going to continue the professional development that goes along with that, and the technology support,” Cash said.
The school board voted to extend Cash’s contract for one year this summer.