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Buffalo students head to school in unusual pre-Labor Day start

More than 30,000 students headed to Buffalo Public Schools Thursday, the first time in many years that school started before Labor Day.

Yellow buses rolled down city streets as principals and teachers stood outside greeting children.

Because Labor Day falls on Sept. 7, the latest it can possibly fall on the school calendar, the teachers union and the district agreed to start the school year two days before Labor Day Weekend.

“I believe it has only been done once, previously, in the time that I’ve been here,” said Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore, who has served as union president since 1981.

Rumore said the union agreed to start earlier because other districts were starting earlier and to give teachers more time for in-house training and preparation prior to the arrival of students.

Superintendent Kriner Cash and board members made the rounds to district schools Thursday, with Cash starting his day by greeting students at Burgard High School at 8:30 a.m.

The opening of Buffalo Public Schools this week marks the start of what is likely to be a period of intense change for the district, with 25 schools in receivership under the direct supervision of the superintendent, as well as other changes likely to follow as Cash embarks on his agenda to restructure the district.

The new school year also marks principal leadership changes for some city public schools, though a number of principal changes have still not been finalized. Interviews for principal positions continue next week.

Not all city schools opened Thursday.

Some charter schools started classes late last month, while some other Catholic and private schools are sticking to the traditional schedule and waiting until Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, to welcome students.