ALBANY, N.Y. ( WKBW ) The issue has been dragging on since last December. Thursday, Buffalo's interim school superintendent made their final attempt at trying to keep millions of dollars in federal and state aid money, that may not be headed to the district's bank account.
Amber Dixon made the trip to Albany with her top staff. She presented her comments at a hearing before the State Department of Education.
Amber Dixon laid it on the line. She wants that $5 million dollars for this year, and more than $50 million over the next two years.
She says Buffalo has done exactly what the state has asked it to do.
Dixon told Eyewitness News, "We complied with what we had agreed to do under the school improvement grants. We have a plan ready to implement that in fact addresses what the governor is asking for, and Commissioner King is asking for. As such, we think we are poised to comply with the school improvement grant regulations, and we have - to date - been told that our efforts were inadequate."
The school district has negotiated three times now with it's unions, and come up with three plans to help failing schools, which it believes met all state requirements, but Albany has sent those plans back each time with a variety of changes.
The final sticking point now is that the teachers union doesn't like the way it's members would be evaluated when it comes to high school teachers, mainly because Buffalo has such a high student absenteeism rate.
Dixon added, "I don't know if I would characterize it as ill treated- what I think is that this is a new process, we're all embracing it, we are all agreeing to a teacher evaluation process that meets the requirements of the law, and I think what has happened is that perhaps we've been held to a different standard...perhaps we haven't, but I do know tat we have reached agreements three separate times with our collective bargaining units about such an evaluation."
Dixon says she thinks the hearing went well. Buffalo must now wait up to ten days for a a decision from the state on whether or not it will get that money. There had been ten new York school districts in the same boat. 8 of them have settled. Buffalo is one of the two that has not.
Board Statement Responding to Citizen Inquiries
Concerning NYSED Teacher Evaluation Requirements
The Buffalo Board of Education (BOE) declares its complete confidence in, and support of, Interim Superintendent Amber M. Dixon’s ongoing efforts to reach agreement between the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) and the New York State Department of Education (NYSED). The board is satisfied with Ms. Dixon’s abilities and willingness to work toward resolution with both the BTF and NYSED regarding the Teacher Evaluation Plan.
The Board of Education also acknowledges and encourages parent participation in seeking a solution through a unified approach among community stakeholders. The Board of Education further supports the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) in its role as a standing committee of the BOE to promote parent involvement in a positive manner and to communicate their concerns to elected and appointed state officials who are in a position to resolve this matter.