District loss over stalemate: $26M

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Board of Education faces another deadline for a teacher evaluation plan in just two days, but it's already clear it will pass, costing the district another $2.6 million grant. That brings the total loss to $26 million.

Since negotiations fell apart in September, the district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation have continually blamed each other.

PREVIOUS REPORT | View the salaries of all public education employees in Buffalo and other districts

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown warned, "If we don't have an approved APPR plan at the state level by January 17, we will lose $33 million, in addition to what we've lost already."

Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore noted, "We've asked [a court-appointed mediator] to bring us both back to the table. And now it's up to Board [of Education] to agree to come back. It's their turn to make us a reasonable offer. And so far, they haven't."

Board member Florence Johnson responded, "He's indicated a willingness to sign [a new APPR agreement], but on, at his time. So it's almost like, 'I want to wait 'til zero hour.'"

The loss of the grants comes at the same time that the Education Action Group Foundation is criticizing the Buffalo Schools' spending.

According to financial records, the district paid almost $200,000 for airline tickets, luxury hotels, and limousines in 2010 and 2011.

WEB EXTRA | Search all of the travel and hotel expenses

 

Education Action Group Founder Kyle Olson said, "This is money that parents and taxpayers have paid to a school to deliver an education to their children."

District officials defend those expenses as legitimate.
 

BPS Financial Controller Geoffrey Pritchard argued, "Most of the travel expenditures were used for professional development classes and conferences for staff, administrators and teaching staff. The bulk of that is mandated. We don't really have a lot of control over it."

MORE | See all of the expenses here

 

If Buffalo misses the January 17 deadline and loses that extra 33 million dollars, Dr. Brown says there could be "dire" consequences. At that point, she says, the district might have to consider laying off teachers.

 

 

 

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