NYC Could Still Land $200 Million In Aid After State Education Commissioner Extends Teacher Evaluation Deadline
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City and its teachers’ union “both failed” by not being able to come to an agreement on teacher evaluations that would have landed the city $250 million in state aid before his Jan. 17 deadline.
However, on Friday afternoon, there was a development in which the city may still be able to receive some grant money.
The deadline for an additional $200 million in grants was extended to February 15 by New York Education Commissioner John King Friday afternoon.
“We remain committed to a new evaluation system, and to discussions with the DOE that will be necessary in order for the city to meet the Commissioner’s new February 15 deadline for training plans and protocols,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
Commissioner King said New York City and its teachers union still have a legal obligation to negotiate a teacher evaluation agreement, even if it’s too late to avoid losing some state aid.
While the aid money would be a small percentage of the city Department of Education’s $19.7 billion operating budget for the nation’s largest school district, missing out on it would make an impact.
The conflict between the sides over a teacher evaluation plan meant New York City was one a few school districts around the state that wasn’t able to meet a state deadline that would have netted the aforementioned $250 million in state aid.
The two sides blamed each other while Cuomo insisted a midnight Thursday deadline for a plan, required from each of the state’s nearly 700 school districts, was firm.
“Almost every school district got this done in the state except New York City,” Cuomo said Friday on “The Jon Gambling Show” on WOR. “They’ve asked me several times would I extend the deadline and I said no because a deadline is a deadline.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the union “unilaterally walked away” from negotiations early Thursday, while UFT President Mulgrew blamed Bloomberg for the impasse and asserted that “the intransigence of the Bloomberg administration on key issues has made it impossible to reach agreement on a new teacher evaluation system.”
“One is going to point to the other. They’re asking me who’s right, who’s wrong — I don’t know who’s right, who’s wrong, but I know they both failed because we needed an agreement and now the education system in the city is going to suffer,” Cuomo said.
A law passed in New York in 2010 required districts to submit evaluation plans. Twenty percent of the evaluations must be based on students’ growth on state tests.
Another 20 percent must be based on local measures and the remaining 60 percent must include classroom observations and can also include parent or student surveys.
Bloomberg said that the UFT had made unreasonable demands including a requirement that the evaluation deal sunset in June 2015. He said that would render the evaluation system “meaningless” because it takes two years to get an ineffective teacher out.
“If the agreement sunsetted in two years, the whole thing would be a joke. Nobody would ever be able to be removed,” he said.
Additionally, Bloomberg said the union wanted to double the number of arbitration hearings available to teachers who filed grievances as part of the evaluation process.
“That would make it, again, much harder to weed out ineffective teachers because more and more of these cases would go to arbitrators, and it would bog our principals down in lengthy arbitration hearings, taking precious time away from their duties as school leaders,” Bloomberg said.
But Mulgrew responded: “I have never seen such a blatant misrepresentation of the facts.’”
He denied that the 2015 sunset provision was a new union demand, as the mayor claimed.
“For the mayor to say that came up at the last-minute, he’s lying,” Mulgrew said.
Mulgrew said in a statement Thursday that Bloomberg “blew the deal up in the early hours today, and despite the involvement of state officials we could not put it back together.”
Each of New York state’s districts was told to submit a plan to the state Education Department for approval Jan. 17 or lose their increase in state aid. All but New York City and three smaller districts had submitted plans by Wednesday.
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