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Buffalo teachers and school district not negotiating

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Buffalo: Buffalo teachers and school district not negotiating
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The Buffalo School District and its teachers must agree upon and have a teacher evaluation plan approved by the state or risk losing millions of dollars, but the teachers union continues to avoid the negotiation table.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than $30 million could be at risk.

"It's just not as easy as saying okay here, sign here and I'll sign here and we're in," Board Member Ralph Hernandez said. "There are a lot of different parts to the agreement and the teachers have to agree to it."

The president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation believes all sides can get a teacher evaluation agreement done.

But right now, the teachers union and the district aren't even talking.

"We're not in any negotiations with them at all," BTF President Phil Rumore said. "That doesn't mean that I haven't on my own started looking at some of the concerns that the state education department has had, so that once the board hopefully does come to its senses, that it doesn't take them a long time to straighten them out."

Rumore said the union won't talk about evaluations until the district returns teachers, who were forced to transfer back to their original schools.

An arbitrator and a judge agreed the teachers collective bargaining agreement was violated but the district is appealing again.

"They have to admit that they violated the contract," Rumore said. "Then what we would be willing to do is see if there's someway that we can work through this so that the teachers that want to stay in the buildings can stay where they are."

Rumore said the superintendent is disingenuous in saying the district may have already lost money by not submitting a plan.

"At the last board meeting, she twice said there was a deadline at the end of November. That is simply not true," he said. "The deadline to having an approved APPR, as she well knows is January 17th."

"I'm not sure that we really lost this money just yet," Hernandez said. "I feel that there's some how, some way that we'll be able to recoup this money somehow. I'm very confident."

Hernandez said the situation is fluid. But if the money is lost he said everything is on the table, including teacher layoffs.

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