Approved deal ends two-year battle over school security OT

Mar 21, 2019

The Buffalo School Board on Wednesday voted to pay members of the district security force $180,000 for overtime they worked but weren't previously paid.

After a discussion in a closed executive session, the board voted to approve the deal while lawyers for both sides work out the legal verbiage.

Apparently no one knows how long the underlying pay practices behind the situation have been going on. District General Counsel Nathaniel Kuzma said the charges were fairly basic.

"The allegation was that the district had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act in the way that it has paid security officers in the district since 2012," Kuzma said.

The 2012 reference is to the statute of limitations under the labor law. That is as far back as the suit could go, although the problem could go back much further. The board lawyer was careful to say the district does not admit in the legal papers to any wrongdoing.

Kuzma said this is a spinoff of the union contract.

"There's a provision in the collective bargaining agreement with the union that had allowed for certain rates to be paid for night school activities as it pertained to security officers and some other positions," Zuzma said, "and a practice had built up over time that ultimately needs to be corrected. It happened well before I started with this district and I think it was a practice that had generated a while back before we started that ultimately we got caught on."

Kuzma said it is being corrected in the process of preparing legal papers to settle the lawsuit. Once the two sides agree to the legal papers, the case goes back to Federal District Court for final approval, clearing the way for the payment.