Less than two weeks after the Buffalo School Board rescinded the residency rule the debate is again making headline news in Buffalo. This time the Buffalo Common Council passed a resolution last Tuesday asking the Buffalo Board of Education to rescind its vote on the issue. And the School Zone blogger from the News Mary Pasciak revisited the debate today. Mayor Byron W. Brown even got into the debate saying in the News article Brian Meyer wrote, "it's something he would not have done." And "I have always supported residency, and I think the vast majority of people in the City of Buffalo support residency."
There is talk in the Council of withholding the $70 million in property taxes the City provides to the district or not increasing it. But the Buffalo Teachers Federation president said the Board would have to start all over again if it rescinded its vote legally, grandfathering in all of those district employees before they took the vote on March 23, 2011, applying only to the new hires.
The moral of the story is the Board of Education and the Buffalo Common Council should try to come up with incentives to lure district employees back into the city, something they should have done a long time ago. If it could not be legally retroactive if residency is reinstated, it's best to offer incentives.
Since teachers are under the gun so to speak these days everybody wants to develop an evaluation system for them from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the NYS Assembly and Senate, the NYS Board of Regents, as well as, other reform agendas, teachers certainly would be "all ears" to hear someone offer to them any proposals to increase their salaries or put more money into their pockets, including moving into the City of Buffalo. With all the rhetoric and hype about teachers, the discussions rarely ever are about increasing their pay.
So start putting some incentives on the table to entice teachers and administrators to live in the city with all of its ills--increasing crime rate, lack of options in schools, high insurance premiums, garbage fees, water fees, increasing property taxes, etc., certainly there has to be something to lure them here. What about a bonus $5,000 to $10,000 extra to teachers who live in the City? Or what about giving teachers a property tax break like the one given to the wealthy buying condos along the Buffalo Waterfront?