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Speaking of school district continuity, the agreement struck on a three-year contract for Buffalo principals and assistant principals, with pay increases of 21 percent in return for a year-round commitment, signals a change for the better.

The change is key to what the district is trying to accomplish through its work on school reform and decentralizing schools.

Buffalo's school system has hung onto a 10-month schedule for administrators, while nearly all other districts have gone to a 12-month schedule. For years, this district has been paying large sums in additional pay to those principals who work the summer months. The new contract will, at least, bring that ludicrous practice to an end.

The new contract will also enable more staff development and training. Up until now, the district couldn't insist that principals attend leader and staff development and training. Now, there will be districtwide staff development for building administrators, who need to be instructional leaders ahead of the game. Principals need to be able to assist teachers and watch and measure the teacher and learning environments in their buildings.

None of this would have been possible without principals working year-round.

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