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Letter: Both sides should compromise and resolve City Honors dispute

Both sides should compromise and resolve City Honors dispute

As a New York State Assembly member representing a large portion of the City of Buffalo, I am compelled to go on record and state that I feel the teachers at City Honors should be treated no differently than the rest of the teachers in the Buffalo School District. This includes participating in the non-teaching duties of monitoring hallways and staffing study halls. It does not make sense to me that City Honors teachers be exempt from such activities.

Teachers in the best-performing schools should be expected to perform the same duties as those in district schools where the students are not performing as well. The double standard at City Honors should be resolved through negotiations and compromises, not through litigation.

In 2014, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo gathered 30 community leaders from public, private, nonprofit and faith-based institutions to form the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable. I was honored to be included among them, and we worked hard and long to put together the 2016 Racial Equity Dividend Report.

This report shows how systemic disparities throughout the Buffalo region create differential outcomes by race, and quantifies economic gains to be realized by all of us when we achieve racial equity.

Additionally, a recent analysis by the Education Trust revealed that New York State has one of the most inequitable funding methods in the country. Districts with a large proportion of low-income students and students of color have on average far fewer resources than other districts in the state. We need to proactively work to put an end to these disparities; not further compound the problem by having a different set of rules for teachers depending on which school they are employed at.

Every possible dollar of the Buffalo School District needs to be used for classrooms and students, not for expenses related to courts and attorneys. If the situation at City Honors does not change, it will ultimately cost taxpayers, but more importantly, the students will suffer. I cannot stand by and allow that to occur without asking the people of my Assembly district to join me in requesting both sides of this issue to reach a compromise for the benefit of our entire community!

Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes

Assembly Member, 141st District

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