Unfavorable Reaction to Teacher Residency Repeal

March 25, 2011 Updated Mar 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

March 25, 2011 Updated Mar 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY

School board members voted five to four to end the residency requirement in their meeting Wednesday night. But many say the board should have allowed the public a chance to give their input before the rushed vote.
The policy requiring most Buffalo public school teachers to live in Buffalo has been in effect for the past nine years.
But school board members in support of repealing the rule say the requirement made it hard to recruit high quality teachers in a district that is already struggling with low achieving schools.

Still others argue that it is important for teachers to be a part of their student's community. Buffalo Common Council Member of the Ellicott District, Darius Pridgen is taking aim at the board.

"It reeks to high heaven of the arrogance of some of the members of the Board of Education to make a decision this important to the life blood of our city...it was almost a quiet meeting that happened without the residents knowing and I'm fairly outraged about that," stated Pridgen.

"The superintendent, recruitment staff at many teachers have said it is a hindrance to us in our recruitment efforts," said

The school board is also looking into incentives that would attract teachers to live in Buffalo including home buyer and tuition reimbursement programs, and giving Buffalo residents extra points during the application process.

The residency rule goes into effect immediately. The board has said in the past that they did not have the resources to enforce the policy even when it was in place.