Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          December 9, 2021


Subject:     Updates (Negotiations, COVID, School Violence, Pay Problems, Etc.)


The mediator has scheduled December 10, 2021 for a Conference call to clarify issues and schedule future meetings.


He has December 30, 2021 and January 11, 2022 scheduled for future dates.


We will attempt to schedule meetings without him.


As much as the long delay in negotiations has been frustrating, to say the least, the District’s financial position has improved dramatically.


In addition to the millions of Federal dollars currently, that can be used for the next two years, the next Federal legislation will, in addition to other areas, include money to fund Pre-K. That will free up even more funding.


This year, NYSUT and BTF were also successful in forcing that State to fully fund what is known as Foundation Aid. Foundation Aid was put into effect as a result of New York State being found guilty of violating its constitutional duty to provide all students with a sound basic education. The funding only lasted for two years. In 2009, New York State stopped the funding due to “financial short falls”.


Our friend Michael Rebell and colleagues with Columbia University went to court again. This year the agreement with the court is that New York State will for 2021-2022 fund 50% of what is required, for 2022-2023, 75%, and for 2023-2024, 100% of what is required.


Importantly, if New York State defaults there will be an expedited hearing in court to force compliance. Note: The high courts have found in our favor.


The projected increase in this aid (Foundation Aid) for the Buffalo Public Schools from 2021-2024 (3 years) is $98,000,000.


For next year (2021-2022), the total increase in State Aid for the Buffalo Public Schools is projected to be $72.9 million ($43 million is Foundation Aid).


In addition, millions in Federal Aid are still available.


This has now put us in the best financial position in many years.


These negotiations are not about what the District can take back. It is about rewarding Buffalo teachers for all you have and continue to endure and provide for our students, parents and community.


With your continued solidarity, this will be done.


COVID Testing
The need to change the testing company has obviously caused problems.


We are checking with NYSUT Legal to determine if the District can require teachers to fill out the form that includes driver’s license number, Social Security number, and insurance information.


We have also sent correspondence to the Superintendent requesting an explanation. (Click Here)

We met with the District on December 8, 2021 as per our demand to negotiate procedures.


It was agreed to work together to ensure the safety of our students, staff, parents and community.


We want COVID testing not only to be in pools, but also available to all teachers.


The District said that the funding could not be used for individual testing. We are checking on this and will take Federal, State and County actions to correct this, if it is the roadblock.


In addition, we are seeking that the District:

  • Will make free COVID testing available weekly at all schools/sites for all teachers.
  • Will provide release time for teachers requesting time to be vaccinated and tested for COVID.
  • Will take no action against teachers whose vaccination/testing information was, through no fault of their own, not made available in a timely manner.
  • Hereby certifies that the District will ensure that all HIPAA and other laws/regulations will be followed to protect a teacher’s privacy rights.
  • Will ensure that charges for required COVID testing not covered by a teacher’s insurance will be reimbursed by the District.
  • Will ensure that no company/agency performing COVID testing/vaccinations will require teachers to sign a document releasing said company/agency from liability relating to the company/agencies.
  • Will, by email, on a weekly basis keep all teachers notified of the current testing procedures with notation of any changes to the previous procedures.


Student Violence
We continue to receive reports of student violence in our schools. Please notify your LRS and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of serious instances of violence in your schools.


We will continue pressing for:

  • More school support teachers. (Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, etc.)
  • Enforcement actions (not cover-ups) of incidents.
  • More school resource officers.

… to name a few.


Sick Days
Yes, an administrator can request a “physician’s statement” if you have been out ill.


However, as per an arbitration decision, they can not set up a policy that requires such a submission.
For example, a principal can not have a policy that requires a “physician’s statement” if you are absent on a Friday, out for two days or more, etc.


If there is any such “policy”, please advise your LRS.


BTF Grievance - Lack of Payment to Teachers for Extra Activities
The BTF is currently proceeding in a grievance against the District for any extra pay that is lacking for the 2020-2021 school year. So we can access and provide this information to the District in a convenient format, we are asking that you complete the information in the survey link below. Please fill out a survey for each day/activity for which you are unpaid. If you have previously submitted your information via the survey, there is no need to do so again.