In a scathing report issued by the Buffalo Public School District's 'distinguished educator,' Judy Elliott claims the district's central office is "out-of-touch" with principals at struggling schools.
Elliott says district administrators rarely visit city schools and often ignore calls from schools for assistance. Her report claims the central office did not schedule meetings with principals during the 2011-2012 school year and that principals have little say in the teachers hired at their respective schools.
The Buffalo school district's "distinguished educator" is taking aim at the district's central office in City Hall, saying that it is out of touch with the needs of the city's struggling schools.
In a report provided to the State Education Commissioner, Judy Elliott says the district's central planners offer little support to the principals at Buffalo's so-called "priority schools," the 28 city schools which rank among the lowest performers in the state.
State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Whelan today upheld an arbitrator's decision that the involuntary transfer of 54 teachers by the Buffalo Public School system was in violation of the district's contract with the Buffalo Teachers' Federation union.
The transfers were initially enacted as part of a turnaround plan which the school board deemed the only feasible way to improve student performances at three low-performing city schools: Futures Academy, Drew Science Magnet School, and Bilingual Center 33.
Buffalo schools are struggling to find room for students seeking to transfer into the district's better-performing schools. But there is the possibility of easing the shortage with the help of suburban schools.
Federal law allows children to transfer out of failing schools to schools which are meeting standards.
The problem in Buffalo is that there are few regular schools which are meeting goals for kids to transfer into and a lot of bad schools which parents would like their kids to transfer out of.
New Buffalo schools superintendent Pamela Brown is facing her first big challenge.
Fifty-four teachers are in limbo, with no designated assignment, after an arbitrator determined that transferring the teachers to another school violated their contract. The transfers are part of an accepted turnaround program for three low performing schools. Brown has yet to appeal the decision and is waiting for assistance from the state Education Department.
Teachers union leader Philip Rumore has hired private counsel to fight transferring the teachers.
Buffalo Public Schools parents are being urged to make sure they send their children to school. Calls were made from the United Way headquarters on Delaware Avenue Monday where a phone bank was set up.
Peter Jankowski, a city school attendance teacher, was calling the homes of students with some of the highest absentee rates.