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BPS superintendent proposes raises for top administration

BPS board members will review the proposal Wednesday, if passed it would grant raises between 6% and 40% for about 30 district administrators.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As was first reported in the Buffalo News, Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash is proposing significant raises for the district’s top administration.

During Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, BPS board members will review the proposal that, if passed, would grant raises between 6% and 40% for 30 district administrators.

The raises would be granted for positions ranging from chief academic officer to secretary to the superintendent.

In the proposal, Cash said the raises are meant to help keep top talent in the district and will help the district recruit star leaders to key positions. He also praised his current executive team for their efforts working outside normal business hours during the pandemic.

“We must keep our 'irreplaceables,'" Cash wrote. "They are the future of the District. And we must work together to effectively execute the once in a generation funding that has come to public education through the American Rescue Plan to ensure good health, wellness, and high academic achievement for all our students."

Superintendent Cash also noted that it’s been the work of his administration that has increased the district’s high school graduation rate from 48% to 76.3% during his tenure.

Cash also compared average administrative salaries to other districts throughout the state and argued that Buffalo is at the bottom.

From proposal:

2020-2021 CABINET AVERAGES FOR BIG FIVE CONFERENCE

  • New York City $221,070 
  • Mount Vernon $187,587 
  • Yonkers $185,489
  •  Rochester $176,287 
  • Albany $173,615 
  • Syracuse $160,836 
  • Buffalo $147,796

If these raises are passed by the Board of Education, Cash said Buffalo would be in the middle compared to the other Big Five Conference districts.

2021-2022 CABINET AVERAGES FOR BIG FIVE CONFERENCE

  •  New York City $221,070
  •  Mount Vernon $187,587 
  • Yonkers $185,489 
  • BUFFALO (PROPOSED) $174,118 
  • Albany $173,615 
  • Rochester $164,777 
  • Syracuse $160,836

Cash wrote "Meanwhile, the District is in its best financial condition ever, increasing fund balance to $312 million; and, Other Post-Employment Benefits Liability (Retiree Health Insurance or “OPEB”) has been reduced by over $400 million. We have attracted a 10% 90M increase in Foundation Aid from our state legislators and won $289M in ARP/ESSER funding to continue to reimagine education and advance the Education Bargain for our students and families."

If approved, the pay increases would go into effect next year.

Local Union Reaction:

However, the members of Local 409 I.U.O.E., the Buffalo School Custodial Engineers are frustrated with the announcement.

Attorney Paul Weiss represents the union and said their more than 40 members haven’t had a raise in more than 12 years.

“These are the men and women who make sure the buildings are heated, they’re cleaned, they’re kept open. During the pandemic, the reason those school buildings were kept open is because of these men and women,” said Weiss.

“I think every district employee can say certainly people are entitled to fair and equitable wages and raises when necessary, those applied to us 12 years ago,” Weiss continued.

The union is currently negotiating a new contract with the district.

“My people are upset, we haven’t been offered a thing since the last raise was in July of 2009,” said Local 409 President Jeffrey Lathrop.

2 On Your Side reached out to the Buffalo Public School District for comment about the ongoing negotiations.

BPS General Counsel Nathaniel Kuzma said, “The District has met many times over the past several years with local 409, including with a mediator present, to negotiate an end to the civil war era, non-transparent engineering-custodial system that is not compliant with IRS rules and regulations.

“The District is committed to continuing negotiations with Local 409 to bring an amicable end to that archaic system with a new agreement.”

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