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BTF takes legal action on teacher evaluations

The News first reported two months ago that the Buffalo Teachers Federation was preparing to take legal action against the Buffalo Public Schools for voiding a written agreement with the union that pledged the district would not use two years of teacher evaluations as grounds for teacher firings.

That legal action has started. BTF President Phil Rumore said last week that the BTF has filed a notice of claim against the district in State Supreme Court. A notice of claim is the precursor step to filing a full lawsuit.

The original agreement reached between the BTF and the district back in January was later declared illegal by the state Department of Education, the state education commissioner and the governor. Superintendent Pamela Brown said she would abide by the Education Department's ruling.

In the notice of claim, the BTF states that the school district has committed "multiple breaches" of the signed January agreement between the union and the district.

Here's the notice of claim:

BTF notice of claim 6-2013

As noted in the May story, legal action by the teachers union could threaten the status of more than $30 million in state aid this year, in addition to more than $10 million in various other government funding this year and tens of millions in future years.

Rumore said the BTF will work with its parent New York State United Teachers union to legally challenge any effort by the state to withhold funds from the Buffalo Public Schools.

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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