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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Attendance teachers coming back to Buffalo schools decided a more pro-active school board as Williams steps down

Finally district officials are recalling laid off attendance teachers from the preferred eligibility list  required in NYS education law after the Buffalo Board of Education in a more pro-active state insisted they rehire the attendance officers and other teachers recently laid-off immediately at a meeting on Monday.  Still a few  board members Florence Johnson, at large and Christopher Jacobs, at-large squabbled about the evils of  the cosmetic rider, seniority and a job description requiring attendance teachers to work  evening hours until district attorney advised hours set in the contract the item had to be negotiated with the union.
Also, the newest board member Sharon Belton-Cottman, Ferry District made troubling offensive comments about the work attendance teachers performed in the past saying they had to really work now instead of "sitting in offices," forgetting it was a contract dispute in 2005 not the job performance of the attendance teachers the reason district had laid them off.
The board voted to allocate $505,000, at a meeting on May 25th this year. Yet many of them were frustrated to see little progress had been done since this period. And John Licata, at-large board member commented, "I'm frustrated we continue to maneuver around the edges of this issue. We're going to be sitting here in October and I'm going to be heavily medicated if we don't have attendance teachers in place by then because that's the only way my voice is going to be calm, while Ralph Hernandez responded, "good point." 
Previously in the discussion Hernandez commented, "As the discussion keeps taking place, time keeps lapsing. Unless there's some law that prohibits the board from hiring these people back, let's do that. Work out the details later."  
There is the issue of the back pay the district owes to attendance teachers and other similarly laid off ones from 2005, especially if they had tenure/contract status with the district as a result of the board appointing them to permanent positions after passing their three-year probationary period. Ruth Kapsiak, West District Rep. said, "If you don't get the back pay, they're still working. Why penalize them by keeping them out waiting to see if you're going to get the back pay when you know you need attendance teachers?"  
Superintendent James A. Williams stepping done on September 15, after a highly contentious and embattled six years at the helm of the Buffalo School finally ceded it was a decision of the Board to hire the teachers wrongfully laid off in 2005 that included 15 attendance teachers. 
What held up the rehiring of the teachers had been Williams insisting the union drop the grievance dealing with how the positions of these teachers had been wrongfully abolished in 2005, in the dispute the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the district had on the single health carrier. Now that Williams is out of the way, things are starting to move forward the attendance teachers rehired from the preferred eligibility list while the district posting the job. And district officials have to settle the old grievance with these teachers because it was wrongful to have abolished their positions when the mid-year crises they had alleged never happened in 2005, while thousands of children stayed home from school in the intervening six-years period from September 2005 to September 2011, under the tenure of Williams who neglected these students in order to continue  pressuring the teachers' union to drop their grievance during a time period the district wallowed in funds from difference sources, allowing the superintendent to increase his exempt employees from 13 when he had arrived to 28. 
Thus, what's so tragic and shameful about this matter is the district had to only settle with a handful of teachers since many of those laid-off in 2005 were recalled, i.e, guidance counselors and librarians, while some had gone back to other tenure positions in the district. And the children in the Buffalo Schools sacrificed because Williams didn't want to settle with a few teachers, while the district had the funds and continues to have it. Many in the community believe for this reason, allowing Williams to have resigned for retirement without holding him accountable for his negligence was wrongful.

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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