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Buffalo teachers union seeks to file lawsuit against reopening city schools

The teachers union says this is being done on COVID safety grounds. The school district attorney and other officials say the schools are safe.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An attorney for the New York State United Teachers union will be filing the lawsuit for the Buffalo Teachers Federation in Albany as they seek to legally block the Buffalo School District from its planned Monday school reopening for some of the 33,000 students. 

The teachers union says this is being done on COVID safety grounds, but the school district attorney and other officials say the schools are safe.

The BTF lost a similar case in September of last year, but the district chose back then to stay with remote learning for all students with schools closed until now.

The BTF says a survey by teachers of buildings found that many were not clean or safe enough and that there was not sufficient custodial staffing. 

The school district attorney, Nathaniel Kuzma, disputes those points, saying "schools are in fantastic shape" and that Superintendent Kriner Cash personally inspected some this week. 

The district says teachers are expected to report on Monday for pre-K through second grade, high school senior class members, and high needs students. The union says they will.

Kuzma warns that any teacher who refuses to do so could be docked two days pay for every day they miss.