Buffalo School Board is meeting today to decide how or in what way to terminate the contract of embattled Superintendent James A. Williams. And the State Education Department will not fund the turnaround plans for three of its persistently failing schools--Lafayette High School, Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet, and Bilingual Center School 33-- because they chose the restart model based on the educational partnership organization (EPO) .
Yet, the state threatened to revoke the registration of any failing schools if drastic changes were not made by the opening of the school year. It appears the State Ed likely preferred the turnaround model over the restart one the teachers' union advocated it lessened the massive movement of teachers what the union and the teachers had opposed.
And Williams either will be fired for cause or released on a no fault arrangement where he leaves with six months pay, $110,000 and life time health care benefits for himself and spouse at 60% instead of 70% had he stayed until next June 2012. If the first option chosen, for cause, means a suspension immediately, and he'll get 90 days pay with benefits while he seeks due process. The super gets over $18,000 monthly, nearly $55,000 during the suspension. And if he prevails in any lawsuit brought against the district, Williams is surely to leave with much more than the $110,000 originally proposed in his contract. School Board President Louis Petrucci sought outside legal council instead of using the district attorney Brendan P. Kelleher the one the board relied upon for advise when they met to oust Williams in late June but failed to do it.
Also, at-large School Board member John Licata cited his job performance, that he is an obstructionist and the lay-offs at City Honors, hiring more exempt employees as a few reasons for terminating him, while president of the teachers' union mentioned stalled contract talks , Williams ridiculous offer of 1% raises with 15% pay into health care benefits, the lines of communication not opened as they seemed to have been previously, and teachers laid-off while he continous to increase his cadre of exempt employees.
It may be best to move forward with the no fault termination option in his contract rather than a long drawn out legal process that takes away from choosing an interim successor and there is the likelihood if Williams prevails legally he'll get a larger settlement from the district.
And the step case the district prevailed on March 29, this year, where it did not have to pay three contractual steps to teachers, instead they got only one after the wage freeze is not chump change, while Williams at the helm though the Buffalo Teachers Federation is challenging the ruling in federal court.