28 Jul

Sam Radford (716) 578-3571

PRESS RELEASE

 Parents make final appeal to Board of Education, Superintendent and

Buffalo Teachers Federation to do what is best for Students.

Resolve the contradictions: either teachers moving is musical chairs and brings chaos or is in their best interest. Either we don’t need the money to turnaround schools or we are one the poorest most underfunded districts in the country.

 

District Parent Coordinating Council representatives and Parents Reps, from the district’s Persistently Low Achieving schools met on Wednesday, July 27 to discuss concerns on district plans not to submit applications for all of seven of the eligible Schools Under Registration Review (SURR), and agreed to make a final appeal in advance of the July 31 deadline.  Before parents consider direct action, we want to make every effort to implore the district to work in the interest of children and families.

Two new developments since the last parent request have prompted the representatives to call on the Board of Education to call an emergency meeting with Regent Robert Bennett, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and BTF President Phil Rumore.

On July 15, 2011 – Congresswoman Slaughter issued a press release on her sponsorship of the ALL CHILDREN ARE EQUAL ACT (ACE) – HR 2485.  (graph below) http://www.louise.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2520&Itemid=100065.   In it she states that Buffalo is the 3rd most underfunded school district in the country under the current Title 1 funding formula.  The Congresswoman recognizes that Buffalo School District’s poorest and lowest performing schools do not have all the resources necessary to turn them around.

Parents agree with the Congresswoman and are concerned that the District is not applying for 8 million dollars in Federal School Improvement Grants for 4 of these Underfunded Title 1 schools.

On Tuesday an arbitrator ruled in favor the BTF regarding voluntary transfer of teachers. 590 (1 in 6) submitted requests for transfers.  Which by every definition would be a large scale MUSICAL CHAIRS of teachers in the district.  The Superintendent’s recommendation to move teachers from the 7 PLA schools would have affected a minimum of 50 and a Maximum of 200 teachers.  BTF President Phil Rumore would not support the movement of teachers in that case because he called it a game of MUSICAL CHAIRS.  Here we have potentially twice that number and the teachers are voluntarily initiating it.

Parents feel that the needs of the students at the poorest and lowest performing schools are being neglected and are calling on those who have the power to do something about it to act before it is too late. July 31st is the current federal deadline.  Regent Bennett has agreed to intervene with NYSED; if Congresswoman Slaughter can intervene with the US Dept. of Education, we can do something for the children who need it the most. With a one or two week extension by State and Federal officials we can do what is best for Children.

The mission of the Buffalo School District is PUTTING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FIRST – TO ENSURE HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT FOR ALL. We are asking board members, our political and union leaders to live up to that mission. Putting us first means applying for needed resources for one the poorest and most underfunded school districts in the Country.

The arbitrator gave three reasons for the ruling in favor the BTF 1. Inadequate Planning 2. Lack of informed fiscal prioritizing 3. Past Practice. All of these issues are potentially applicable if the District does not apply for these resources for the neediest of our students and families. 1. Inadequate Planning – We had almost a year to prepare a plan for each of these schools – there is no acceptable reason why the district should not be able to develop an acceptable plan in a year. 2. Fiscal prioritizing – Can we really afford to pass up on 2 million dollars this years in one of the poorest most underfunded school districts in the Country.  How do we justify this to this year’s cohort of students who are not able to benefit from the a changed learning environment and increased resources. 3. Past practice – has led each these schools to being Persistently Low Achieving and put on the Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) list. What are we doing any differently this year if we pass up on 2 million dollars to make the radical changes the School Improvement grant calls for.  According to the U.S. Dept. of Education research, the currently recommended incremental changes have not worked in the PLA schools across the country.

If we don’t make this effort of behalf of the students who need it most – we are in fact intentionally doing what we know will not work and perpetuating the problems within our school district.  If all children are equal, we are asking that the poorest and lowest performing students get the same treatment and benefits as our highest performing and wealthiest students–schools that ACHIEVE!

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