State Education Commissioner issues ruling backing time change at three city schools

Aug 30, 2017

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Ellia has issued a ruling and order regarding start times at three Buffalo Public Schools.

The ruling says Buffalo Schools Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash's receivership powers, under the state’s receivership law, continue at D'Youville Porter Campus, Drew Science Magnet School and the Lydia Wright School and allows for changing the start and stop time.

Inside the D'Youville Porter where school times will change in the new school year.
Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

Earlier this month, Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore filed against the district. He said the district did not have the consent of the teachers to make the time changes and violated their contract.

“But basically what they did is they changed the starting and ending time at two elementary schools from being early schools, that start at 8’o’clock to schools that starts at 9’o’clock – the kids then would get out an hour later – they did so without the knowledge of the parents, the consent of the teachers or anybody,” Rumore remarked in a WBFO interview.

However, the new teachers’ contract provides for a longer school day. Receivership allows for a change to the length of day. 

“I have considered the parties’ remaining contentions and find them to be without merit,” wrote Elia.

WBFO News reached out to the Buffalo School District for a response to the ruling. The district responded with the following statement:

“New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia has filed a decision (attached) and order that backs up the District's plans for the 2017-18 school year. Students at D'Youville Porter and Lydia T. Wright will start at 9 a.m. as opposed to 8:00 a.m., and end at 3:55 p.m.  Charles Drew will begin their day ten minutes earlier at 7:50 a.m., and end at 3:05 p.m.  We will reiterate to parents and teachers that our start times have changed at 3 schools (as we did last April), and we're making arrangements for parents who need early drop-off. 

The extra time will be used for instruction."

WBFO's Mike Desmond caught up with Superintendent Cash late Wednesday afternoon.

"We appreciate the commissioner's decision. We know it was thoughtful and aligned with what we are trying to do here with all of our schools, starting with our low-performing schools,"  said Superintendent Cash.

The changes will go into place for the start of the new school year, Tuesday, September 5th.

"We let the parents know back in the spring," remarked Cash.