Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers
From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF
Date:          October 2, 2019

Subject:     Updates

As you may know, we have 3 new Labor Relations Specialists (LRSs) assigned to BTF.

They are filling the positions of Dennis Licherelli (retired from NYSUT – now working for our Supplemental Benefit Fund at BTF – which he helped start), Deana Fox and Anna Geronimo, who both transferred to other assignments.

They are Jenna Burke, Matt Kibler, and Rob Mueller.

They are all amazing advocates with extensive experience fighting for those they represent. We are very fortunate to have them as part of our team.

As you may know, each LRS is responsible for one-third (1/3) of the schools/sites. In this way, there is consistency and knowledge of what is transpiring at your school/site.

It will take a few minutes for them to become familiar with our contract and the issues in the District so please give them an hour or so to do so. Actually, it is amazing how quickly they have already dug into the issues.

Welcome, Jenna, Matt and Rob.

The Lesson Plan Document adopted by the Buffalo Board of Education starts with:

“Purpose of Lesson Plans:

Primary purpose of plans is for the teacher. Teachers should make them as detailed as the teacher needs them.” (This is bolded in the document.)


Feel free to advise your administrator of this. It seems that rather than just caring about how well all is going for students in your class, some administrators want to focus on your lesson plans.

Let us know if your administrator has chosen to ignore what the Board of Education has approved. Do they ask the doctor or dentist to see his or her lesson plans to evaluate them before or after they go, or are they judged by their work?

We are receiving disturbing reports relating to oversized Science Labs. Not only is this dangerous, it is detrimental to teaching and learning.

Please report any Science Labs with over 15 students on the roaster. We are grieving this. Send class sizes to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include your school, class size(s), subject(s), your name and contact information.

Not only is the District trying to remove Art, Music and PE from the elementary grades, they are violating regulations relating to High School instruction/programs.

We are filing litigation to force the District’s compliance with the regulations.

However, we need a teacher/parent of a child who attends a Buffalo High School who has a child who wants to take Art, Music, Band, Choir, Orchestra, Dance or Theater classes during the school day but it is not offered at their school. If you are or you know of a parent in this situation, please have them contact Associate Counsel, Claire Sellers at (716) 884-1115 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

As you have read and heard, teachers are what is often referred to as mandated reporters of “suspected child abuse or maltreatment”.

Some aspects of the law include:

  • Includes teachers
  • Must notify person in charge  - e.g. Principal 
  • School or agency cannot take any retaliatory “personnel action” against person reporting.
  • Confidentiality – “for mandated reporters and all sources of child abuse and maltreatment reports”.
  • Mandatory Reporter – Complainant/Plaintiff attempting to take action against a person reporting abuse/maltreated “must show willful misconduct or gross negligence on part of mandated reporters to overcome the statutory presumption of good faith in reporting suspected abuse.”
  • District must provide “All such current and new employees with written information relating to the law.”


A copy of the law and an overview are attached (Click Here).
In addition to it being the law, as teachers who care about our students, we know it’s the right thing to do.
No real progress today.
Interestingly, the District is now saying that they didn't really want to remove all of X (J) (Art, Music and PE) as their proposal states but, they just wanted to remove the last part dealing with an MOU.
Then how do they explain the fact that a separate/different proposal already called for that part being removed?