Parent group highly critical of policy for Buffalo school coaches

Aug 10, 2018

A parent group is crying foul over the Buffalo School District's hiring of sports coaches. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley tells us the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) says the agreement between the Buffalo Public school district and Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) is a “bad deal”.

Buffalo Public school football players attended news conference outside the Bennett's All High Stadium in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“And we don’t want a science teacher, who’s a really nice guy or really nice lady to be a coach – we want them to be a good science teacher,” declared Sam Radford, president of the DPCC.

Buffalo Public school football players attended news conference outside the Bennett's All High Stadium in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Radford is blasting the policy. The agreement allows a certified school teacher, with seniority, to become a team coach with a $7,000 stipend. Radford questions if those teachers are truly qualified to coach.

“They negotiated that right away and given that right to the union to decide a teacher with three years’ experience and the most seniority, gets to decide if they want to be the coach and that’s the determining factor. That’s just unacceptable and that’s what needs to change,” Radford stated.  

Radford pointed to the stipend as something teachers are seeking as an incentive to coach.

“So that $7,000 stipend makes a difference for them. If we take the stipend off the table we can renegotiate this. So now, instead of talking about what was in the best interest of children – we are having a conversation about what’s in the best interest of teachers and what we want to do is get this conversation back to what’s in the best interest of children, the coaches that are best for children and the teachers should be focused on how they become better teachers in the classroom,” Radford remarked.

“To say something like that is really pathetic,” responded Phil Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.     

Phil Rumore, president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, responded to the DPCC from his office Thursday.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Rumore tells WBFO News there is a committee to make sure the teachers are qualified to coach the sports teams.    

“Teachers don’t teach just for the money – they do it because they love the sports and they want to help the kids and for him to say something like that – it’s a disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself,” Rumore responded. “If the person’s not doing the job – doing an adequate job then the district can evaluate them, try to help them be a better coach. I haven’t heard any complaints – most of the kids that I know are really satisfied with their coaches.”

Hutch Tech High School has replaced its retiring football coach under this policy. The new coach has a winning reputation, but players say they just learned of the change Monday. 

Player Xavion White-Banes, City Honors School student, plays for Hutch Tech. He said an assistant coach has been working with them and deserved the slot.

Player Xavion White-Banes, City Honors School student, plays for Hutch Tech.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Our coach being taken from us is really like a father being ripped away from his family. Nick Todaro is a championship winning coach. He already has won championships. To take him from this team, from the three years he has been preparing for this year – it just doesn’t make sense,” White-Banes said. “We all come from lower communities and he cares about us as men. He keeps us on the right track. He makes us focus on our grades to even play. He really cares about this team.”

White-Banes started an on-line petition on Change.org, calling on the district to rescind the hiring decision. He already has 1,436  signatures.

The Buffalo School District says coach Todaro was serving as an interim coach after the head coach retired in January. Interims then need to apply for head coach. However, he was not named for the position, but was offered assistant coach. The District noted the new head coach has 25-years' experience as a coach.  Todaro remains a teacher at the school. 

Parent David Bradshaw son's is senior football player at Hutch Tech. He's not pleased with the coaching change.

“It’s not only just replacing the head coach position, but they took away the whole staff,” Bradshaw remarked.

The parent’s organization indicated it might conduct a 'boycott' of school sports, but said they will outline their agenda at emergency meeting Monday night with parents.