The Buffalo Board of Education approved a contingency budget for reinstating the attendance teacher laid-off in 2005. The $500,000 contingency fund is based on district officials developing a plan. In an interview on WIVB-TV4, Superintendent James A. Williams told George Richert they are looking at many plans. He mentioned the Harlem Street Academy use of AmeriCorps volunteers to go door to door in place of attendance officers. In a Buffalo News story yesterday Williams called using attendance teachers to combat truancy as a "waste of money" saying, "We’ve tried this for years, and it’s not working,” he said of the attendance teachers. “It never worked.”
The ambivalence in his statements makes the public wonder how sincere he is about reinstating the laid-off attendance teachers when he believes what they do is a waste of money.
Although a board member from Central District Ruth Kapsiak asked for more time to discuss the budget, the chief financial officer Barbara Smith responded "...waiting would not be a good idea. Because 30-day employee layoff notices need to be sent out." And Williams responded that Smith would not be here because she was going on vacation this week . District officials are sending out lay-off notices before the new fiscal year starts on July 1, to 74 teachers from the 300 cuts slated in the 2011-2012 school budget. So with only 5 board members voting they approved a nearly $800 million dollar budget, laying off teachers and reinstating the attendance officers under a contingency plan. Ruth Kapsiak, Central District and Rosalyn Taylor, Ferry District voted against approving the budget.