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Talk of Hutch Tech football boycott fueling coaching dispute


There may be more drama and scheming going on off the school sports fields in Buffalo than on the fields. It is a mix of the long-running disputes beween the city school district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation and activists.

Buffalo School Board Member Larry Quinn is blaming BTF President Phil Rumore for contract issues, while Board Member Sharon Belton-Cottman says outsiders are mixing in a dispute over who should be the football coach at one of the city's best schools.

Quinn has a long history of attacking the union and Rumore.

"The big issue for me prior to this CBA, I think that the head of the BTF is very cute," Quinn says. "He has a very cool way of getting what he wants and isn't up front. He doesn't stand up and say, I'm against it. He has other people do his bidding. That's his MO."

Belton-Cottman says the outsiders should go play in their own sandbox.

"Conversation went to a boycott so that our team would be penalized and these boys would not even have a chance to move up and make it to the next level," Belton-Cottman says. "This is what happens when you have people who are not truly vested in children playing a game. So I want to encourage their parents who are listening to this, do not settle. Do not fall for the drama and the hype."

When it came time to vote on a new deal between the union and the district, not enough board members showed up to constitute a quorum, so the deal on a new coaches hiring system was not accepted and was not rejected. The district is hoping more delegates will show up for another attempt at a vote on the hiring deal.

Board Member Jennifer Mecozzi says she thinks Rumore is showing good faith after the quorum problem.

"He extended this to the delegates for a whole other area, when he could have put it to rest right then," Mecozzi says. "So when they got it to them, there were not enough people. There wasn't a quorum for the vote. The holdup is literally on their end."

The pact calls for a hiring committee to evaluate coach candidates and make the hire, instead of teacher seniority controlling coach hires.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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