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Five districts get funds restored -- but not Buffalo

State Education Commissioner John King announced today that he has reinstated school improvement grant funding to five districts -- Albany, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Schenectady and Syracuse.

Buffalo was conspicuously absent from the list.

Asked about the district's status, an SED spokesman pointed to a statement from King indicating that "the five districts whose SIG funding is still suspended [including Buffalo] have requested hearings to challenge his ruling."

Buffalo's $9.3 million in SIG funds for six low-performing schools was suspended after the district failed to submit principal and teacher evaluation plans for those schools, for 2011-12, that the state deemed acceptable. Nine other districts also saw their SIG funding suspended.

Buffalo has since submitted at least three revised plans, according to teachers union president Phil Rumore.

Today's press release from the state Education Department read, in part:

"Teacher and principal evaluations are a major ingredient of the Regents reform agenda," Commissioner King said.  "The evaluation agreements submitted by these five districts are clear evidence that school districts and local unions can come together to craft a meaningful evaluation system.  The end result is better teaching and improved learning, both of which translate into better opportunities for the students in SIG schools.

"This proves that districts and teachers can get it done.  After SIG funding was suspended in January, these five districts went back to the drawing board and worked out agreements that meet the state and federal requirements.  All five districts can now receive their 2011-12 SIG funding.  Students at these schools have been denied a good education for far too long.  Meaningful teacher evaluations and the improvements funded with SIG money should help start to turn that around."

- Mary Pasciak

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    [email protected]

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | [email protected]


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | [email protected]


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | [email protected]


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | [email protected]

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