Buffalo Teachers Federation officially ratifies new contract, makes teachers second highest paid in WNY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The contract negotiations between the Buffalo Teachers Federation and Buffalo Public Schools has officially come to an end.

On Monday night, the teachers federation officially ratified the new contract, which had been approved by the Board of Education on Friday.

The vote passed with 98.7% of the 1,877 votes cast to approve the contract. 1.3%, or 25 votes, were against the deal.

In the contract, teachers will receive an 8% raise retroactive to September 1, 2022, a 6% raise on July 1 of this year, a 4% raise on July 1, 2024 and a 3% raise on July 1, 2025. Additionally, all active, full-time teachers will receive a 10% bonus based on their new salary once the contract is ratified. Recent retirees will receive a payment of $1,000-$2,000 depending on when they retired. The district will invest more than $240 million for these payments.

BPS says this new agreements makes it the second highest paying district for new teachers, behind Lackawanna School District.

See the full breakdown of the new contract here

As for the district, teachers hired after June 30, 2026 will not be eligible for district health insurance upon retirement. Teachers hired after that date will be able to “sell back” sick days and use early retirement incentives toward the cost of healthcare in retirement. Teachers will also contribute more toward their health insurance beginning on July 1.

Other parts of the agreement include an adjustment in bell times, a $1,000 annual stipend for teachers with a bilingual extension who instruct a class where that is required, an increase in petty cash allotment to $10 per pupil, with increases of $2 per year in 2024 and 2025 and an additional 30-minute prep period for adult education instructors and advisors.

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Teachers in the district have been working towards the new deal for nearly four years. The negotiations included several board meetings, pickets, a call to Governor Kathy Hochul to declare a state of emergency in the district, a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams and an independent fact finding report that the district said was crucial in the negotiation process.

The talks continued to be contentious even just a month ago. In a meeting in March, bickering at the bargaining table continued after the board said it had given its final offer. Several board members walked out of the meeting after a discussion into why the deal was not signed.

Last week, teachers federation President Philip Rumore announced that he was retiring after 42 years of working for the union.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

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