BUFFALO, N.Y., October 16, 2008 - Faculty at the South Buffalo Charter School and the school's board have reached agreement on a contract that provides guaranteed, fair salary increases, health benefits, a grievance procedure and job security to the school's 86-member faculty.
The South Buffalo Charter School board ratified the agreement Tuesday night, three weeks after members of the Instructional Staff Association voted to accept the terms negotiated with the help of a mediator. The collective bargaining agreement will remain in effect until June 30, 2011.
"This is a fair agreement that reflects the challenges and demands of our profession and offers the charter school staff the dignity and respect that come with having a meaningful voice in the operation of our school," said Ed Bradley, a teacher and president of the South Buffalo Charter School Instructional Staff Association. "We believe this agreement enables us - as well as our charter school board - to work together more effectively to provide the best education possible to South Buffalo's children."
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the contract agreement helps dispel the myth that charter schools and unions are incompatible. "This agreement is the product of cooperation, collaboration and mutual respect. It will enable the South Buffalo Charter School to move forward with a stable faculty that is fairly compensated and which feels it has a real voice in school affairs," Iannuzzi said.
Iannuzzi noted that NYSUT represents teachers and staff at several other charter schools across New York. "While we have expressed some concerns at funding inequities which benefit corporate charter operators, we have always stood shoulder to shoulder with teachers - in every kind of school - as they fight to improve conditions for teaching and learning."
The South Buffalo Charter School faculty includes teachers, teaching assistants, library assistants, reading coaches, counselors, social workers, nurses, mentors, technology coordinators and regular substitutes. The South Buffalo ISA organized with NYSUT in the spring of 2007.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.