Buffalo School District in Jeopardy of Losing Millions

April 25, 2012 Updated Apr 25, 2012 at 9:31 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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April 25, 2012 Updated Apr 25, 2012 at 9:31 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW)- Buffalo parents filled the Buffalo School Board Meeting Wednesday. Many are outraged that the district could lose millions of state funding over the stalemate with teachers over evaluations. The deadline to submit an agreement to the state was due by 5 p.m. Tuesday. $5.6 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG) hangs in the balance for this school year and an additional $50 million is in jeopardy for the following year. Interim Buffalo Schools Superintendent Amber Dixon and other administrators will head to Albany thursday for a hearing with the state. Dixon hopes the Commissioner of Education, John King, will free up the money or grant an extension. The Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore says teachers believe they could be evaluated unfairly with the system, especially with buffalo's high absenteeism.

"These are meant to be professional development opportunities for teachers," said Regent Board Member Robert Bennett. "This is not a gotcha system, it's a way to assist teachers and improve their craft of teaching."

In neighboring Rochester, union president Adam Urbanski says their district teachers had similar concerns, but approved a pilot plan 6 months ago. Under their plan, there is a provision that you must have 80 percent attendance to be evaluated and for this year, teachers would be not be adversely affected by the results.

"We figured out a way to help the district get the much needed money," said Urbanski. "We made it not only fair for the district, but fair to teachers and if you can strike that balance it's also good for the kids."