In today's Niagara Gazette, there is a nice fluff piece about the new Superintendent of Niagara-Wheatfield schools, Carl Militello. It goes on about their exhaustive search, and Militello cites "having schools go from being designated by the state Education Department as “at risk,” or in need of improvement, to being named high-performing" among his accomplishments.
Unfortunately for the residents of the district, we're not sure they're getting the entire story on Mr. Militello.
A friend of mine who lives in the Carthage district that Militello is coming to NW from had this to say about him: "He is very controversial, almost starting a revolution in Carthage over budgeting, his out of district residence and taxes. He's heading to Niagara County after voter revolt."
This is a piece that appears in the Watertown Daily Times related to the hiring of Mr. Militello and his tenure at Carthage.
The Watertown paper states that "Mr. Militello, who was hired in Carthage in July 2006 after spending six years as superintendent in Dunkirk, has recently come under fire by community members and municipal officials in the district for cutting jobs while increasing taxes." Also under Militello's leadership, "voters voiced their displeasure with the district on May 20 when they voted down the 2008-09 budget 1,849 to 294 on May 20 and forced all three incumbent board members out of their seats."
So after an exhaustive search, including 25 candidates, we're going to hire the one with an extremely controversial record of cutting jobs while raising taxes? Are these the attributes we're looking for in our school administrators these days?
And as for the Gazette, is it your policy to take someones press release verbatim and pass it off as news? A couple phone calls would have alerted you to the controversy surrounding this guy.
Maybe we can just put all of this behind us. Maybe Mr. Militello will come to Niagara Wheatfield looking for a fresh start; looking to learn from the mistakes he's made in the past. Then again...