City Honors students protest faculty cuts at their school last month.
City Honors students protest faculty cuts at their school last month.

Letter: No Transfers at City Honors, Please

by / Mar. 14, 2018 8am EST

“Putting Children and Families First to Ensure High Academic Achievement for All”—the motto of the Buffalo Public Schools.

We represent a group of BPS #195 families urging the District to immediately stop the mid-year transfers of 5.5 teachers, and for all parties to engage in mediation to resolve this protracted contractual issue.

During the mediation process, we ask that a creative solution to the teacher aide situation at #195 be arrived at such that the district can better use their resources in other schools. It is apparent to all involved, including students at the school, that requiring 16 aides at #195 is excessive and unnecessary.

We understand that #195 is one school in a larger community and we advocate for all Buffalo Public Schools to have the resources they need to ensure high academic achievement for all.

We also understand that the labor issue is a contractual legal matter, that the Board of Education publicly acknowledged that the District’s attorney signed off on this contract and made them responsible for it, and that the courts have ruled in favor of the Buffalo Teachers Federation repeatedly. The District and the Board of Education have chosen to disrupt the education of the children they purport to uphold.

This situation could have been handled differently by the District and the building administration. The District and the building administration took measures that were not in the best interest of the students, leaving them on the thin ice of the legal system, when at any moment the court could grant the District’s petition to lift the temporary restraining order and to go ahead with the immediate transfer of 5.5 teachers.

Our children are living with the uncertainty that at any moment their teacher could be transferred out of their school. It appears that the music program will be essentially dismantled and the IB program is also at risk. Most of the 11th grade will be adversely affected if their IB Literature teacher would, at any moment, be required to abandon his planned-out lessons for the year, effectively cancelling the course. How does this make sense?

Other than two letters to parents, the last one notifying us that 5.5 teachers would be transferred out of CHS on February 27, the Principal has not communicated at all as to how the school would adjust to his decision to eliminate these teachers. Neither the District nor the building administration have held a public, open, all- #195 meeting to explain how it is that we are in this situation and how we are going to move forward from here. Limited access meetings have been held by various stakeholders, adding to the divisive, poor communication with families at #195. Continued cuts at #195 have been rumored and parents are aware that changes may be made without their input again in the near future.

At a moment when nationwide students are demanding their voices be heard, students should be heard in matters that affect their learning and their schools. We are proud of the steps #195 students have taken to make their voices heard on this issue of transferring their teachers.

We urge the Board—our elected officials and representatives—to direct Superintendent Cash and the Buffalo Public School District to stop the transfers and engage in mediation, putting children and families first.

BPS #195 parents, alumni, and students:

Jenna Balducci, class of 2017

Ellen Barnum, parent

Janz Castelo, parent

Tatyiana Gordon, class of 2016

Rumiz J. Haq, class of 2011

Kushnood Haq, parent

Kareem Haq, student

Leah Higgins, class of 2016

Haley Keller, class of 2014

Sean Mahoney, parent

Margaret Mahoney, parent

Quinn Mahoney, student

Kathleen Mahoney, student

Clare Mahoney, class of 2017

Susan McMahon, parent

Timm Otterson, parent

Laurie Ousley, parent

Catherine Panepinto, parent

Julia Panepinto, class of 2016

Marc Panepinto, parent

Rachel Panepinto, class of 2014

Anthony Pratts, student

Mario Pratts, parent

Michael Pratts, student

Julia Penchaszadeh Robert, student

Lilah Penchaszadeh Robert, student

Sarah A. Robert, parent

Bruce Wagner, parent

Cecilia Wagner, student

Julia Watts, parent