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Buffalo School administrators ratify 3-year pact, end 13-year impasse

Administrators in the Buffalo Public School District have ratified a three-year agreement that would see their salaries increase by 12 percent in the first year of the pact and by 2.5 percent and 2.75 percent in the second and third years of the agreement.

School Board members met in a special session on Friday to go over the terms of the contract.

However, no action was immediately taken by the School Board to approve it.

"I expect that you will be able to vote and ratify this contract, if the board so chooses, on Sept. 20," Nathaniel Kuzma, the district's general counsel, told board members.

"That will be after the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority has the opportunity to review the agreement and send recommendations to this Board of Education, prior to your vote," Kuzma said.

School Superintendent Kriner Cash outlined five priorities included in the contract.

"They're important priorities. Some are similar to the teachers' (contract)," Cash said.

"We wanted to make sure we provided a fair and comparative compensation to the current Buffalo (School District) administrators, not only because it's long overdue, but because we need to be able to attract quality administrative talent long into the future," Cash said.

"We don't have a deep administrative bench here in Buffalo Public Schools, so this will help with that," Cash said.

Kuzma, the counsel, said both sides came together over the past week and a half, with the intention to get negotiations done.

"The difference this time around from the last time when we went into executive session with the teachers' contract is, with the teachers, they were still waiting in Kleinhans Music Hall, where they had not yet been presented with the contract, and it could have been disruptive to their process. In the opinion of the Committee on Open Government, it was appropriate to go into executive session," Kuzma said. "That was not the case here, as the union met this afternoon. They received the details of this agreement and, as Dr. Cash previously indicated, they had passed the agreement."

"You know, everybody thought the teachers' contract was the longest impasse in New York State for any bargaining unit without a contract," Kuzma said.

"That was actually surpassed by this one," Kuzma said.

Under the tentative agreement, union members would not receive any retroactive salary increases for the period between July 1, 2004, and Aug. 28, 2017.

If approved, the first year's salary increase would start on Aug. 28, officials said. In addition, members would receive one-time signing bonuses ranging from $3,000 to $10,000, based on their years of service.

The contract would cover a period lasting until June 30, 2020, if approved.

The agreement would cover about 270 people, including principals, assistant principals and assistant superintendents, according to officials.

Kuzma said the anticipated savings to the district over the 3 years of the contract would be about $14.2 million.

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