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BUFFALO TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT BY BOARD

At a recent general meeting of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, we were informed that despite the fact that our contract expired on June 30, and negotiations had been going on all summer, no new contract was available to be discussed or voted on by the membership.

Why? Because the chief negotiator, hired by the Board of Education, was given no authority to bargain on any board proposals or make any financial offer. Teachers seek to lower class size; the board seeks to eliminate our class-size limits. Teachers seek to restore art, music and physical education in prekindergarten through third grade; the board refuses.

It makes no sense to pay an expert $50,000 to do a job and then not allow him to do it. This is another colossal waste of time and money by the board. And will this be something else to blame on a favorite scapegoat, Superintendent James Harris?

Every other group bargaining with the Board of Education -- aides, administrators, engineers, clerks, secretaries, City Hall workers -- had a multiyear contract in place the last school year. The dedicated teaching professionals of Buffalo deserve far better treatment, as does the public.

KIM MACKINNON Buffalo

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