Buffalo Teacher Shuffle Case Will Be Appealed

September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 11:52 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

September 5, 2012 Updated Sep 5, 2012 at 11:52 PM EDT


It's been a game of musical chairs for 54 teachers at school numbers 33, 37 and 59 who have been transferred to new classrooms this September. They were moved so the district could qualify for more than $5 million in federal aid. Under this turnaround plan at least 50 percent of the staff of underperforming schools were transferred to other schools within the district.

"The teachers that are in those schools, we're not saying they're bad teachers or that they're ineffective teachers what we're saying is that when we do the turnaround process we're attempting to change the culture of the building," stated Darren Brown, Executive Director of Human Resources for the Buffalo Public School District.

"This is educationally crazy. Just taking half the teachers and moving them from one school to the other school in three of the schools doesn't make any sense educationally," said Philip Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

And a judge agreed, at least in part when both sides took the issue before an arbitration judge. The judge ruled in favor of the teachers union saying that the transfers were in violation of the teachers' contracts.

Case closed? Not by a long shot. The board voted Wednesday night to appeal the decision.

After hearing that the board will file to vacate the judge's decision Rumore accused the board of continuing confrontation.

"I ask you, which is more disruptive? Moving them back to the schools and being with the children that they know and the programs they know or plucking them out and moving them to a school where they don't know the students, they don't know the programs and most of them are teaching in grades that they never taught in before," asked Rumore.

Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown says,

"As long as the teacher is certified in that area the expectation would be that those adjustments would be made and that the needs of the students that the teachers are now teaching would have access to a good education."

Despite the judge's ruling the teachers will stay in their new assignments, until there's a decision on an appeal.

Rumore says he supported a different plan requiring an outside educational partner to take control of the schools but Brown says changing the model would just put the students' success on hold for another year.