BUFFALO, N.Y. - It has been nearly eight months since the Buffalo School Board terminated Debbie Buckley, the former Assistant Superintendent for State and Federal Programs. Now Congressman Brian Higgins (D-27th) is calling on Federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan and New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. to audit the spending practices of Buckley.
School Board member Ralph Hernandez tells 2 On Your Side that red flags went up more than two years ago, prompting three probes, one conducted by an independent firm, one by the School Board and one by the Superintendent's office. Buckley was found to have directed as much as $330,000 in grant money to friends, family and business associates. That included a tutoring business that Buckley had started with her mother.
Buckley was first suspended with pay and then, last June, she was ultimately terminated. Higgins' request calls for officials to look at spending in general, and the specifics regarding Title I funds, which are federal grants intended to to help low-income students.