After 10 years, little progress made on teachers' contract

Apr 24, 2014

Buffalo teachers have been working without a contract for more than ten years.  Last night, the School Board received an update from an administration official on the status of contract negotiations with the Buffalo Teachers Federation. 

Talks through the years have been contentious.  Last year, when a state mediator recommended that teachers begin paying for some of their health care, BTF President Phil Rumore accused the mediator of favoring the school district.  Rumore claimed Buffalo teachers earn $20,000 less than those who work in suburban schools. 

Since then, the two sides have been meeting with state-appointed fact-finder Ronald Kowalski. 

At last night's meeting, Nate Kuzma, the executive director of Labor Relations for the district, said they will all meet again on May 12th where Kowalski is expected to offer his recommendations toward bridging the gap.

"One of the reason we're waiting until the 12th is that the fact-finder was interested in how the budget process will play out, specifically the contribution the state will make to the district." Kuzma said.  

But Kuzma provided no timetable for when, or even if, a new contract with teachers will be iron out.  Kuzma also said his office is also in negotiations with the union representing the district's principals.