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Makowski Opens Dialogue, Seeks Return of Some School Nurses

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Makwoski held a settlement conference Monday with all sides involved in the county budget lawsuits. He met with the Comptroller, Sheriff and Clerk and their attorneys in separate meetings.

Each has made a request to the Legislature in an attempt to settle their respective suits. The elected officials say deep budget cuts have taken away staff that is mandated under the County Charter.

Sheriff Patrick Gallivan says he's working to restore mandated services that were cut to his department that affect public safety. But Gallivan says he has no idea if their efforts will lead to any settlement among all sides.

"We have been cut across the board below the level that is necessary for us to fulfill our mandates in all service areas," Gallivan said. "I'm working to restore those areas."

Gallivan says cuts to the Sheriff's Department touches the entire criminal justice system.

Also Monday, Makowski urged county leaders to come up with a plan to keep a few nurses in Buffalo schools. He's advising County officials to work out a deal to keep enough nurses in the schools so the most medically needy students won't have to stay home.

About 26 part-time nurses were laid off last week due to the massive budget cuts. The remaining 20 full-time nurses will be out of work when the school day ends Tuesday.

About 300 to 400 Buffalo students receive daily assistance from school nurses.