As a retired Buffalo teacher, I feel compelled to comment on The News editorial that vilified the Buffalo Teachers Federation and its leadership for the position taken regarding designation of a single health care provider for all employees. The proposition that the teachers, whose wages have been frozen for two years, should unconditionally agree so that school nurses can be restored is a simplistic solution to a complex problem.
Erie County agreed to provide school nurses for the Buffalo Public Schools in perpetuity when the county took over the old E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, now ECMC, from the city many years ago. Buffalo's once superb magnet and technical-vocational curriculum have been decimated of programs and staff while much-needed pupil personnel, including guidance, attendance, social work and psychological services, are virtually nonexistent in most schools.
Now unproven charter schools are draining scarce dollars from the budget, another unfunded state mandate. These concerns may well eclipse the school nurse situation and represent just some of the issues that might be discussed as part of a reasonable agreement by the teachers to accept a single health care provider.
Peter P. Schifferli