BTF Says Buffalo School District Violated Law Regarding Recent Layoffs

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Teachers Federation says the Buffalo School District violated the law when the board approved 63 layoffs earlier this month.

The union says the district can fix their mistake now or head to court.

Federation president Phil Rumore says the district kept some positions based on job title instead of based on seniority.

"What the school district has done is, it has kept the coach with less seniority than the other teacher in the classroom, and that's a violation of the law," he said.

Teachers were laid off, but some newer instructional coaches kept their jobs.

Of the 63 layoffs, Rumore says this affects 10 to 15 of them.

Now, with the backing of lawyers who say the district violated Article 78, which deals with seniority, the BTF plans on taking legal action.

"We had a conference call with our attorneys [Wednesday], who verified that the law had changed a number of years ago...maybe the district still thinks that the law is the way it used to be, but they're wrong," Rumore said.

Head of talent management for the buffalo school district, Darren Brown, responded, and said the district will look into the Federation's concern and evaluate the tenure of current instructional coaches.

Brown said the layoffs don't take effect until September 8, so there's time to make corrections if need be.

"If you're incorrectly laid off, they have to pay you back from the date that you should have been paid your full benefits and salary," Rumore said.

Meanwhile, the BTF is still waiting on related information requested from the district last week in an official last week.

Legality of the layoffs aside, Rumore says he doesn't think 63 layoffs were necessary and wants proof of the procedures the district went through to justify them.

Teachers told 2 On Your Side first-hand on Wednesday that classes are too big.

"The ideal class size in cities like Buffalo is 12-15, our class sizes are up in the 30s," Rumore said.

Darren Brown said he'd be happy to sit down with the BTF and discuss their legal concerns, but right now he says he has only received communication via that letter requesting information, which he says contains nothing about the legality of the layoffs.


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