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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teacher rescind, recall and Promise Neighborhood grant updates

As per Barbara Smith, Chief Financial officer of the Buffalo Schools at the Buffalo Board of Education meeting today, Friday, September 2, there were 14 teachers and 12 aides reinstated Mary Pasciak wrote in her School Zone Blog for the Buffalo News live chat.
The money to reinstate these laid-off employees came from the $1.2 contingency funds the board had allocated previously that included $505,000 to reinstate the laid-off attendance teachers.  The classroom teachers were reinstated in their tenure areas even if they were laid-off literacy coaches.  They get placed on the seniority list in their tenure area as they are reinstated.
Interesting to know some of the literacy coaches were hired first in this area and have no tenure area to fall back to. And teachers who were given a 30-day laid-off notice effective on September 30th, they come back to work in September and laid off again though Eileen Fleming, Executive Director of Human Resources said that could change. The latest figure is 51 teachers and 80 aides being laid off but again Fleming said that could change too if enrollment, teachers going on unemployment compensation, etc.. then a recall happens.
West District Board Member Ralph Hernandez commented the Superintendent Williams said there was a 500  enrollment deficit while he reported a 300 to 400 English Language Learner enrollment increase, so is it a zero-sum game he asked.
Kapsiak, from Central District mentioned her concerned about the probationary teachers who have not gotten laid-off notices yet. She said one enter her classroom and there was another teacher sitting in her classroom. Fleming  said that has something to do with placement while another central office administrator commented there's lots of movement of teachers going on now and they are working on this issue all week.
A teacher commented she has been reinstated but not placed yet wonders what is going to happen to her. And Pasciak responded in the live chat Kapsiak Central District board member investigating this point. Licata, at-large board member brought up the issue of 16 reading teachers laid off,  Fleming responded the numbers he has are the most recent.
Taylor from East District mentioned concerned about the large kindergarten classes numbering 33 in a classroom at one school. Taylor advised the schools fully staffed by the opening of school with certainty by high level central office administrator.
Board President Lou Petrucci sounded frustrated at the number of call he received from community members who wanted a specific teacher replaced, but it's done through seniority. At the same time he mentioned the public has the perception the criterion based schools--those requiring testing to get in get more resources and he looked into it and said it's not true in fact they were sometimes the lowest funded per capita and schools funded based on highest need, he said. But one wonders if City Honors a criterion based school gets less resources.
Promise Neighborhood discussion:
Buffalo one of 21 groups to get a planning grant out of 339 applicants nation-wide to implement the Promised Neighborhood concept zone. The application has to be out to the Feds by September 6, 2011.The Fed  to grant four to five grants of $4 million to $5 million each one for five year period. Pasciak commented it's a concept similar to the Harlem Children's zone where wraparound services are provided to children from birth to college age. Medical services offered and housing improved in the zone areas.
A David Chamberlain from the Westminster Foundation talked about the Memorandum of Understanding, the MOU and a community needs assessment.  Buffalo Schools received a $500,000 federal grant and M&T  Bank contributed $150,000  and Oishei Foundation $100,000 matching it, while M&T raising another $9 Million privately.
Chamberlain said  the goal is at least 60% of seats in the Promise Neighborhood School Zone reserved for the children in the zone area zip code 14215. Chamberlain mentioned the partnership is with the Superintendent of Buffalo Schools, so the program structured that way for the schools in the Promised Neighborhood Zone that is Highgate Heights and Bennett High School. Westminster Charter School M & T Bank has  operated since 2005.

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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