Offer Rejected on Involuntary Teacher Transfers ; $2,500 for Each of 106 Affected Is Called ?Unacceptable' by BTF amid Evaluation Impasse
Pasciak, Mary B., The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)
Buffalo School Superintendent Pamela C. Brown offered to give $2,500 to each of the 106 teachers affected by involuntary transfers this fall in an effort to resolve the stalemate between the union and the district over the transfers.
It didn't work.
As part of her offer, the Buffalo Teachers Federation would also have had to agree to one of two teacher-evaluation plans that Brown offered ? either the model used by Syracuse or by Binghamton.
BTF President Philip Rumore said the offer was "unacceptable." He noted that the union won an arbitration ruling saying the teacher transfers violated the contract, and a State Supreme Court justice subsequently upheld the ruling.
"We won the arbitration. It was confirmed by the courts. And then she offers money to settle it, but we still have to do other things on top of that," Rumore said. "You usually have to compensate the people who were harmed ? you don't usually ask them to do more."
Brown, through a district spokeswoman, declined to comment for this article. The superintendent said she would address the situation with the School Board at its meeting Wednesday.
The stare-down is significant because more than $50 million in state and federal aid is riding on Brown's ability to get Rumore to agree on an evaluation plan that the state will approve.
It is also significant because this is the first major test of the new superintendent's ability to negotiate a major agreement of any sort with the union ? seen by many observers as an indication of her ability to hammer out a new contract to replace the one that expired eight years ago.
Earlier this month, the School Board voted to authorize Brown to decide how to proceed with the legal battle over the involuntary transfers. Rumore said Monday that the district has filed an appeal in the case.
The union's 200-member governing body, the council of delegates, voted in late September to suspend negotiations on the teacher- evaluation plan until the district dropped its pursuit of the involuntary teacher transfers.
The district transferred 53 teachers from three low-performing schools this fall as part of the improvement plans at Futures Academy, Drew Science Magnet and Bilingual Center 33. The BTF fought unsuccessfully to get a court order that would have blocked the transfers until the case was resolved. …