After the Buffalo Teachers Federation council of delegates voted to keep the attendance provision in the new teacher evaluation system (APPR) Wednesday night, interim Superintendent of Buffalo Schools Amber Dixon asked the director of human resources to give her a list of the positions that she will have to cut in mid-year as a result of the action of the BTF.
It is expected that 60 teachers or more will be laid-off that work already in the persistently lowest achieving schools because the state education department now will not release the $9. 3 million dollars expected to continue funding the positions.
The majority of teachers that voted on Wednesday night did not work in the PLA schools, causing some to say the voting was not fair to the teachers who work at these schools now facing mid-year cuts.
Yet, lay-offs are done through seniority in the tenure area so if there are any teachers laid offs in mid year most likely it will ricochet throughout the district not necessarily in the PLA schools.
The Buffalo News published an email from a teacher in the BTF who did not agree with the voting process.
Also absent at the delegates meeting was the attendance teachers recalled in September this year. There were several attempts to inquire about organizing them but vice president Edith Lewin, a retired teacher, a presidential assistant to BTF President Phil Rumore, suggested the teachers try a committee select a chairperson to attend the council of delegate meetings but would have no voting power. This after the union dues deducted from the attendance teachers paycheck are nearly $10,000 yearly to the BTF not to mention all the hullabaloo from the union about attendance.
Also, chronically absent student is defined as absent 10 percent of the school year not 20 percent as the BTF cited to support its provision on the teacher evaluation.
What the BTF could have done is provided the teachers alternatives to the provision such as ensuring that each Buffalo school building is adequately staff with attendance officers at least one for every two elementary schools in the district and one full-time in the academic high school including attendance intervention in the criterion schools that also have incurred an absenteeism problem after the district laid-off the attendance teachers six years ago though it's not as noticeable in the average daily attendance (ADA) of these schools.
Now is the time for the BTF to ensure the school board establishes a new state-of-the-art alternative school to address the problem of student discipline, suspensions and severely absent students.
And if you ask Rumore to include the addition of attendance teachers in the contract during negotiations especially now that teachers are evaluated on the achievement of students on assessments and standardized tests scores, he has repeatedly answered he can not do it. Why?