Buffalo Schools Send Out Layoff Notices

July 29, 2011 Updated Jul 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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July 29, 2011 Updated Jul 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) -- Hundreds of teachers and teacher aides in Buffalo Public Schools are losing their jobs. Officials announced they are sending out notices as the district looks for ways to deal with a smaller budget. A late afternoon news release from the school superintendent's office announced the layoffs of 254 staffers who work with children in the classrooms.

Llenais Pinet and her family were having dinner at LaSalle Park Friday night when we broke the news to them. Two of the family's children attend Buffalo Public Schools. News that the city school district is laying off 104 teachers for the coming school year, has this mother concerned. "If this is going to happen, it's going to affect a lot of schools and teachers and families...if they do layoff the teachers," Pinet said.

When the Buffalo School Board adopted a 756 million dollar budget for the 2011, 2012 school year...it projected that as many as 134 teachers might be laid off. "We knew in May that this day was going to come. But, still...when it's all said and done...the people who are hurt the most, by this, are the children in the classroom. As bad as the teachers layoff is the teacher aides and the teacher assistant layoffs. So we are losing teachers in the classroom, we are losing the support in the class room. Now really is probably the worst time for this for Buffalo public school students,' remarked Sam Radford, Vice president of the district's coordinating council.

Layoff notices also went out to 150 teacher aides and teacher assistants. "Bottom line is...we as parents...are going to have to really really figure out how do we come together and make sure that our children get a quality education. Because, with the reduction of the federal stimulus money...with the reduction of the state funds...we can't really look to other places to get resources. So, we are going to figure out how we educate our children with less money. But, we also are going to have to make some reforms in the Buffalo public school district," Radford added.

State and federal funding cuts meant that the city schools had to close a 54 million dollar budget hole for the coming school year.

Here is the text of the release obtained by Eyewitness News:

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW / release ) A spokesperson for the Buffalo Public School system notes that employee layoffs anticipated last spring are now a reality.

Teacher layoff letters are being mailed today by tenure area as follows:

ELA – 32
Elementary Ed – 23
Math - 15
Reading – 16
Science – 1
Social Studies – 17
Total – 104

Additionally, there will be 150 layoff letters sent to teacher aides/assistants.

As projected in the general fund budget that was adopted in May, the anticipated reductions amounted to 134 teachers and 98 aides/assistants.

It is important to remember that the Federal Stimulus funds have come to an end resulting in some of the layoffs.

The General fund experienced a $33 million reduction in state aid operating funds, as well as, reductions in the Contract for Excellence and the elimination of the Superintendent’s School Improvement District and Model B.

Eyewitness News will continue to follow this story.