Quinn: Buffalo Teacher's Federation used power to push through new Buffalo Schools Calendar

Quinn: "When is this ever going to end?"/ Phil Rumore responds

Mike Baggerman
June 20, 2019 - 1:14 pm
Phil Rumore

Phil Rumore (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Buffalo School Board Member Larry Quinn told WBEN on Thursday morning that the 43-week school calendar that was adopted by the board the night before was fully influenced by the Buffalo Teacher's Federation, who refused to compromise on the topic.

Quinn compared managing schools to a recent meeting that he had with local businessmen:

"I said 'Hey I've got a great deal for you,'" Quinn said. "'I'm starting this company that I want you to invest a lot of money in it. You can be the CEO but you can't choose any of your employees, discipline them, fire them, or motivate them with any incentives'. They looked at me and said you're out of your mind. That's what happens in schools and it's a function of the stranglehold that (Phil) Rumore and company have on this district. The calendar is just yet another example."

Buffalo Public Schools will have their first day of classes for the 2019-2020 school year on Friday, September 6. It will keep the winter recess, February vacation, and spring break. The last day for students and teachers is June 25.

Rumore, the president of the teacher's union, contends that their contract originally called for 42 weeks, two weeks less than the school proposed. He said the board was the group that made the calendar an issue and said the two sides ultimately reached a common ground.

"We have had disagreements in the past but we have mostly had agreements," Rumore said. "When it came to negotiations, the contract that was negotiated that was recommended to the board by the superintendent and his negotiating team. It was a contract that was a fair contract, one that the district could well-afford. To say something like that reminds me too much of what's going on nationally. People say things that have no foundation in fact and just say things to sling mud and make somebody look bad. It's just pathetic."

"The teacher's are going to have their pay spread out over an extra week," Rumore said. "It was submitted in March. It's the same type of calendar we've had for many years when we've had to do this."

Starting classes on a Friday is a good thing according to Rumore, who said that the teachers will be at the school earlier in the week with professional development and a classroom preparation on the Thursday before classes start. Quinn shared his reservations about students and teachers not showing up on the Friday before school because of past instances where people don't show up due to a vacation. In this case, it would extend their summer vacation.

"The highest rates of absenteeism are occurring the day before holidays," Quinn said. "The district rightfully said that you can shoot a cannon down the hallway at one of these schools on the Friday before Columbus Day weekend or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They said let's acknowledge these as non-school days and extend it a week so we can get higher attendance on both parties. It was designed to benefit children and help children have a teacher in their classroom more days. It was soundly rejected."

Quinn said every teacher he spoke with favored the 44-week proposed calendar by the school and said it was the "same old, same old" from the Buffalo Teacher's Federation.

"When is this ever going to end?" Quinn asked. "It's not even for their constituents. It's a power thing. (They say) I can do what I want and I'm going to do it. That's the movie I've been watching for the past five years."

Rumore refutes the idea that students wouldn't show up on a Friday, saying it's an insult to parents to assume the kids wouldn't show up.

"Obviously he's been watching the wrong channel," Rumore said.

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