ADVERTISEMENT

The Buffalo Teachers Federation says it believes its dispute with the district about teachers assisting with the in-school breakfast program can be resolved without going to arbitration.

The union plans to address issues of classroom cleanliness and ants from crumbs and spilled milk directly with the school district after canceling the resumption of arbitration hearings next week.

BTF President Philip Rumore said he believes problems with the school breakfast program can be resolved satisfactorily after speaking with Superintendent Pamela C. Brown.

“What we’re looking for the district to agree to is to have the staff at each school, along with the parents, sit down and figure out the best way to implement the program,” Rumore said, adding he also would like to see the district set up a committee to oversee the program and field concerns.

“We’re not trying to take breakfast away from our students. We support it. We just want to ensure the problems are addressed, whether it’s hygiene, teaching time or the quality of food,” Rumore said.

Jessica Bauer Walker, executive director of the Community Health Worker Network, who also heads the health committee for the District Parent Coordinating Council, expressed appreciation over the BTF’s decision.

“We’re very pleased, and we thank the BTF for doing the right thing on behalf of our children,” Walker said. “I think it’s important that the community and families and health advocates stood up united for our children, and we saw that moved things in a positive direction.”

The district’s food services director was unavailable for comment.

Breakfast has been served to all students regardless of need since 2010, moving the meals out of school cafeterias, in most cases, and into classrooms.

Rumore said problems have ranged from an increase in insects and rodents to a loss of teaching time. The problems are unevenly found in the schools, he said, where there can be anywhere from 10 to 35 teacher aides in a building.

Rumore said it took the threat of arbitration to bring the district to the table to seek solutions to a grievance filed in 2010.

email: msommer@buffnews.com