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School officials lash out against 'distractions'

"LIFO is bound by negotiated contracts and by law. It's just the way it is," he said. "I value all of our teachers and I think they are all solid. I think that we have a good evaluation system in North Colonie. I do value student performance as a part of that."

He added that all of the district's senior teachers are strong, and that none of them have become content and lazy as time has passed.

"They mentor young teachers and provide experience," he said. "I consider them an asset."

Libby said his district has a list of 12 to 23 teaching positions that are currently at risk, but said the number is constantly changing since not all of the components of the budget have been put in place. But the state is currently in the middle of revising the evaluation process due to provisions in

the Race to the Top grant, which makes it hard to properly look into layoffs.

"New York state is in the midst of revising the Annual Profession Performance review process," he said. "The whole system is in flux right now. We're awaiting regulations from the state education department to inform districts how to rewrite APR plans."

Buhner wants schools to be able to assess their own staff instead of having the state decide on that. He said on the state report cards, South Colonie saw 58 percent of its students graduate with an advanced regents diploma, adding that information of student performance is transparent.

"I don't think I would go in there and tell them how to do their jobs, and I don't think they should be telling us how to do ours," he said. "I think for schools that have successful results in achievement, we feel that the expert in the fields should be making those decisions."

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