Parents are now getting in the middle of the rift between Buffalo Public Schools and Kaleida Health.
The Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization rallied parents Wednesday behind Kaleida's school nurses, who were disqualified from retaining the district's nursing contract because Kaleida returned its proposal 16 minutes late.
"We feel strongly we want Kaleida Health nurses to remain in our schools," said Larry Scott, co-chairman of the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization. "Somehow this process needs to be reset."
The group held a news conference Wednesday afternoon outside of Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence on Appenheimer Street with parents and students surrounded by dozens of nurses who serve district schools.
The school district's nursing contract, which Kaleida has held for the past 13 years, is up at the end of this school year. Thirteen bidders submitted proposals back in January, which include bids submitted late by Kaleida and two others.
Kaleida officials said they submitted the bid electronically before the deadline and only recently found out they were eliminated as candidates for the new contract.
The BPTO has more than 2,300 signatures on a petition it started circulating a couple weeks ago after hearing rumblings that the Kaleida schools nurses would be replaced.
The nurses on Wednesday said they were assured jobs by Kaleida, even without the school district contract, but were concerned about the continuity of health care that would be provided to the kids.
"This is not a fight we wanted or asked for or even predicted," Scott said. "It was kind of hard for us to ignore, because of the many people who contacted us with concerns about the future of our Kaleida nurses."