Debate Continues Over Student-Teacher Evaluations

March 9, 2012 Updated Mar 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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March 9, 2012 Updated Mar 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Many people came to a community meeting at Southside School in Buffalo to talk about permanently filling the superintendent position, Thursday night. The discussion quickly turned to another topic.

Those involved are debating whether students who are chronically absent from school should be able to evaluate their teachers. The state said that their new plan will work but the teacher’s union said ‘no way’.

The union thinks it is unfair for teacher to be essentially graded by students that are not in class most of the time. If the district does not agree to the states plan, they could lose out on more than $9 million. School officials also said that it could lead to more than 70 layoffs district-wide.

“If a child is not in school how can you educate them? That's like being evaluated at McDonald's for flipping burgers when you don't have a burger on your spatula. How can you be evaluated for that?” Teacher Anna Kalapakis said.

The teacher’s union is fighting to get the millions of dollars in state funding another way. They said they are ready to take legal action against the state if necessary.

As far as the state goes, officials said it’s simple. The district must agree to the stipulations of the evaluation or they will not receive their share of the money.