Press Release from the District Parent Coordinating Council


Members of the District Parent Coordinating Council and several local elected officials met Friday with State Education Commissioner, Dr. John B. King Jr., who was in Buffalo for the NYSUT conference.  The Commissioner expressed his support for the children of Buffalo, and encouraged parents to continue to advocate for a solution to the suspended funding currently being held up due to the failure of the Buffalo Teachers Federation to sign off on an evaluation agreement.

Parents have been urgently seeking options, and have met with and received pledges of support from the Buffalo Board of Education, Mayor Bryon Brown, and now Commissioner King over the past several days.  The clock is ticking with millions of dollars at-risk for children in the most challenged schools of Buffalo.  Also at stake is the potential closure of Lafayette High School, which will be unable implement its school turnaround plan with the pull-out of Johns Hopkins University as a partner as of May 1st.

While it looked like the chance for a resolution might be over with the passage of yet another deadline to submit a new evaluation plan, and the status of the hearing that Superintendent Amber Dixon and other District officials attended on Thursday likely taking several weeks to hear back on, parents are taking matters into their own hands and are asking for help from all stakeholders to strike a deal that is in the best interest of their children.

“We have been told by Commissioner King that he is willing to continue to work through this process.  He doesn’t want to withhold funds, but there are federal laws in place that require a teacher evaluation protocol signed off on by all parties before money can be released.  We are all confused about what the Buffalo Teachers Federation wants.  First they didn’t want to be measured on attendance and we worked though that.  Now they are bringing up issues with English Language Learners and Special Education children.   We need to get to the heart of the matter here and move past this,” says Samuel Radford III, President of the District Parent Coordinating Council.

The District Parent Coordinating Council is asking for an emergency meeting with the BTF and Superintendent Amber Dixon to come up with an agreement that addresses all concerns.  They plan to mobilize the support of the State Education Commissioner, Board of Education, Mayor, and many parents and community partners who are all calling for an end to a three year squabble which has taken vast amounts of time, energy, and resources of teachers, parents, and the District.

“This situation has caused a huge disruption at our school,” says Wendy Mistretta, PTO President at International School #45. “The way that teachers are evaluated may not be ideal.  But it seems like the BTF keeps changing what their issue is- which is just what they are accusing the State of doing.  We need to move past this and focus on the learning of our children and working together as parents, teachers, and community to support our students”.

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