Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Three attendance teachers added to the district revised application

It's unconscionable to think the Buffalo Public Schools officials revising the application to qualify for $42 million in federal funds failed to include any attendance teachers, the Buffalo News reported on Sunday.

The union President Phil Rumore would not sign off until they were included. "Then, deputy superintendent Folasade Oladele could not reach (Superintendent) Williams by phone, but she agreed in a phone call with Rumore to include in the grant application three attendance teachers, who will be shared by the five high schools."

Attendance at these persistently classified failing schools Bennett, Lafayette, Riverside, South Park, and Burgard High Schools declined in the five year period from 2005 to 2010, when the district eliminated almost the entire cadre of attendance teachers/truant officers.

If student are not attending school which is why these schools are persistently failing in the first place whatever additional sources of funding they receive defeats the purpose one would think.

There are only two attendance teachers/truant officers in the Buffalo Public Schools today responsible for 34,000 students. That is 17,000 students per teacher!

Aside from the three attendance teachers included in the grant application, the district needs to immediately replace the one who retired in May 2010.

And the district would have to canvass first from the list of the attendance teachers laid-off in 2005, hiring them at the salaries they had before the lay-off, including the one step teachers received two years ago what it is the district would rather not do.

The other issue is that the district wrongfully laid-off the attendance teachers/truant officers in August 2005. Fifteen of these teachers most of them tenured/contract ones with permanent appointments got pink slips because the district used them as a wedge to pressure the Buffalo Teachers Federation to switch from multiple carriers health insurance to a single carrier plan without negotiating it.

So what did they do, they laid off the teachers, then hauled them into a meeting in the Board room in City Hall to get them to pressure the union to accept the single carrier health plan in order to get reinstated. That happened five years ago. It never happened so the teachers continued laid-off.

After the arbitrator ruled the teachers should be reinstated in 2006, the district took the case to NYS Supreme court who ruled in favor of the union. Then, they took the case to the Appellate Court in Rochester that continue to rule in favor of the union but vacated reinstating the attendance teachers.

And the Court of Appeals in Albany sided with the Appellate that the district violated the teachers contract when it imposed the single health carrier insurance, reaping the savings over a five year period, but continue to vacate reinstating the laid-off teachers most of them the attendance teachers.

In 2008, the district requested the union canvass the teachers laid-off in order to assess the salaries they had to pay back to the teachers if reinstated as the arbitrator had originally ruled in 2006. After the teachers submitted the requested information on the form, they have not heard from either the district or the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

So, teachers with a permanent appointment with tenure/contract status with the district were laid-off without a cause or reason consistent with NYS Education Laws denied 14th amendment due process since tenure essentially provides teachers property rights.

Hence, there was no bonafide economic reason for the laying off these teachers in the first place while the district reaped the savings realized through the single health carrier it imposed on the teachers without having negotiated it, as well as, the salaries of these teachers laid off.

And in the five year period from September 2005 to September 2010, continuing into 2011, many of the teachers were deprived of their health care benefits thrusted needlessly into the ranks of the unemployed.

There has never been a more egregious violation of tenure rights of teachers than what happened to the attendance teachers when wrongfully laid-off in the Buffalo Public Schools. And five years later these tenured teachers with permanent appointments continue to wait for reinstatement. This is truly a case of "justice delayed is justice denied!"

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo