Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, June 4, 2015

School Officials Look To Gut Labor Contracts At Buffalo Schools Under Receivership

Here is the future of many public schools in New York State:

Some of Buffalo’s most struggling schools could get unprecedented power to hire staff, extend the school day and implement reform strategies without negotiating them with labor unions under a receivership plan being developed by the state.

The preliminary plan also removes powers such as developing the budget and approving curriculum from the Board of Education, and puts them in the hands of the receiver.

School officials who have been in talks with state education leaders presented early ideas of what the receivership model could look like during a School Board meeting on Wednesday.

The guidelines are still being developed, but the talks give some idea of how the model could affect the schools.

“What this looks like is our legislators created the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment and after years and years of our schools sliding into failure, they know they need to make changes,” said board member Carl Paladino, referencing state laws that guarantee union protections. “They’re doing a carve out.”

Make no mistake, the powers that be would love to "carve out" whole swaths of the system from work protections, labor contracts and the like.

And make no mistake, that's exactly what is going on here in Buffalo:

Board members and district administrators, however, recognized that the language being used to discuss the potential guidelines is somewhat vague, and it is still unclear just how much power the receiver will have to circumvent contracts.

They unilaterally agreed that they should attempt to influence the development of the guidelines by advocating for powers they believe the schools need to succeed.

“If you don’t push this thing as far as you can, you won’t get the benefits intended,” said Interim Superintendent Donald A. Ogilvie.

The receivership model is Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s latest proposal for assisting schools that consistently fail to meet academic standards.

They can't get more blatant than this - you'd better "push things as far as you can" or "you won't get the benefits intended."

So they're going to advocate "for powers they believe the schools need to succeed" - you know, like the power to hire and fire at will, dole out the money without any direction from the Board of Education, and basically create an autonomous "public school" that is running autocratically without any say from anybody other than the "receiver."

We've seen this in Michigan, we've seen a lighter variation of it at the "turnaround schools" in NYC, but Buffalo's going to get the full version if Cuomo and his buddies have their way.

And make no mistake, once a few school are put into receivership in Buffalo, the powers that be will champion the system and look to put the whole city system into receivership:

The targeted schools are Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, Futures Preparatory School, West Hertel Academy, and Burgard and South Park high schools. More schools would likely be in the same position after two years.

Then they'll go at Rochester, at Syracuse, at Yonkers, and NYC, chopping away at the "failing" public school system until they have gutted all but the wealthy suburbs with charter schools and receivership schools.

Shock Doctrine 101 - we must do what works!

And what works?

Why, autocracy and oligarchy, of course.


  1. This bill brought to you by Crystal Peoples Stokes, a close ally of Cuomo who clearly had no hand in writing it and refused to tell community members who did write it. She did however drop dime on NYSUT and UFT as having read it over and voiced NO OBJECTIONS. In case you thought for a second that Messner Palotta and Magoo weren't stealing your union dues and selling you out, this should be a good reminder.

  2. If Newark may serve as an example, scores at renew school with gutted faculties and extended days have gone down. Teachers get stipends of $3,000 that are taxed as bonuses and amount to next to nothing. TFA and other novices proliferate. Renew schools warehouse students unattractive to charters. Good luck to Buffalo. You are heading down a slippery slope.

    Abigail Shure