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NYSUT conducting full-review of receivership decision for Buffalo

WBFO News file photo

The Buffalo Teachers Federation has turned to the state's largest teachers union as it reviews the New York State Education Department's decision on receivership for struggling city schools.  WBFO'S Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says New York State United Teachers believe Buffalo teachers are being blamed for poor performing schools.

"Teachers feel like they are being scapegoated and schools are being labeled and blamed for problems that are beyond their control," said Carl Korn, Chief Press Officer with NYSUT. 

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued her decision on receivership earlier this week. It is a decision that imposes a collective bargaining agreement at the city's five Persistently Struggling. It calls to expand the school day and year and transfer teachers to other schools involuntarily.

But Korn tells WBFO News collective bargaining should 'be respected. "Our attorneys are still studying the commissioner's decision, but I think it is fair to say that there's a likelihood that this will be in court," stated Korn. "We're going to take any action that's necessary to defend the teacher voice and the parent voice."

WBFO News asked the Korn what the union believes would be a solution to improving the city's struggling schools. First thing to do is to attack the root causes of chronic under achievement and that's poverty and violence and homelessness and lack of nutrition and lack of healthcare. Attendance is an issue in Buffalo schools," responded Korn. 

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash failed to reach agreement on changes with the union and that's when he turned to the Commissioner to intervene and give him receivership powers. 

"We're going to take any action that's necessary to defend the teacher voice and the parent voice," stated Carl Korn, Chief Press Officer, NYSUT.

WBFO News reached out to Dr. Cash for comment, but he declined.  However, last week, we talked to Cash about his concerns with the BTF.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash.

"I just think it is a long, entrenched labor situation here. You are talking about 40, 50 years -- this is the way you've done business here, so to change that is going to take time," replied Cash.
BTF  President Phil Rumore has repeatedly stated the District bargained in "bad faith."

NYSTU said  receivership would "erode collective bargaining rights".     

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