"There was a better way to do this, I will say. I think in any organization, if two parties want to have a discussion about a separation, you bring their attorneys in the room, you negotiate and you move forward."Perhaps, Williams will now "move forward" to negotiate a contract with the Buffalo teachers. Buffalo teachers have been without a contract since it expired on July 2004. District officials not only litigated the single health carrier insurance after it unilaterally imposed it on the teachers in 2005, realizing millions of dollars in savings during the four year dispute, but later litigated the contractual steps teachers owed after the wage freeze lifted in 2007. District officials even litigated the reinstatement of the wrongfully laid-off teachers in 2005 that included 15 attendance officers about eight with (tenure) permanent appointments designated "contract" union employees with the Buffalo Teachers Federation. And, the the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled the teachers did not have to be reinstated ironically because they were not "contractually entitled to job security."The Court of Appeals sustained the decision of the Appellate Court. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Teachers Federation continues to negotiate reinstatement of the attendance officers while attendance rates decline district-wide especially at the junior high school and secondary levels.
Yet, Superintendent Williams earlier this month called the work of the attendance officers "like a band aid on cancer" and did not support reinstating them even after the Buffalo Board of Education allocated funds to bring them back at the May 25th board meeting in an interview with the African-American newspaper, the Challenger Community News.
A plethora of reports issued recently corroborated the serious issue of declining attendance rates in the district. The consultant the Board hired Hedy Chang released her report in May, her data showed nearly 45% elementary school, 52% middle school and 70% high school special education students are chronically or severely absent in the Buffalo Public Schools and BTF report cited nearly 45% of students in K-6 were absent more than 21 days.
If Williams continues to blame the parents for not sending their children to school as he alleged at the meeting the District Parent Coordinating Council held with stakeholders at the Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts May 3rd, and resist reinstating the attendance officers while attendance plummets in the district, the board may have to revisit whether allowing him to retire ( in order to enhance his benefit package is more important than the school attendance of Buffalo students.