Rally for Superintendent Pamela Brown

September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 6:07 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 6:07 AM EDT

(BUFFALO, NY) WKBW - Hundreds rallied Thursday night in front of City Hall, in support of Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown. Brown's supporters want naysayers to know the school district didn't crumble overnight.

Brown was hired in July 2012 at a time when the district's graduation rate had plunged to 46.8%, 30% behind the state average at the time.

But at a meeting that was being held at the same time as the rally, Dr. Brown announced Buffalo's graduation rate jumped to 56% in 2013 which is almost 10% higher than last year.

Dr. Brown and her top administrative staff revealed the district's five year strategic plan Wednesday night, which pledges to hit an 80% graduation rate by 2018.

Despite these new numbers Park District school board member Carl Paladino has repeatedly called for Dr. Brown's termination, claiming that she is incapable of carrying out federal and state mandated programs to turn around failing schools.

Paladino blasted Brown for recently hiring a new Public Relations Chief, a brand new position at $115,000 a year. Lori Schultz, a former local television news reporter who had been working for the mayor's public relations office was hired for the job and will now move to the school district making $35,000 more than she did with the city.