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Judge asked to recuse himself from City Honors case

The case over teacher cuts at City Honors School took another twist this week.

Attorneys for the Buffalo school district, awaiting a court decision on the matter, filed a motion Thursday asking State Supreme Court Justice John F. O’Donnell to recuse himself from the case because of a family connection between him and one of the teachers involved.

O’Donnell’s daughter is sister-in-law to one of the teachers being cut from the school, according to court papers.

A request from the Buffalo Teachers Federation to stop the district from transferring 5.5 teaching positions at City Honors so an arbitrator can step in to help resolve the labor dispute is currently before O’Donnell.

The judge did inform attorneys of the familial ties and that he had a conversation with the teacher about the City Honors matter prior to receiving the case, according to court papers.

While attorneys for the school district said that wasn't necessarily a violation of the rules, they expressed in court documents concerns about the “appearance of impropriety.”

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 2.

The district, meanwhile, had targeted Tuesday as the date to transfer the teachers, but there’s still a temporary restraining order in place preventing that pending a court decision on the union’s request for an arbitrator.

In a related matter, an attorney representing parents from City Honors asked the judge for a delay in the case to provide time to file a motion intervening on their behalf.

City Honors dispute heads back to court, as fight is taken to School Board

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