ALBANY – Teacher evaluation deals recently worked out in New York State’s 700 school districts would be permanently locked in under the state budget now nearing completion, a senior Cuomo administration official said Friday.
“Once the [evaluation] plan is in place, the plan does not sunset anywhere unless a new plan is put in place,” said the senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
That ends the financial threat against districts that don’t get teacher evaluation deals in place.
“That means the plans are here to stay. They’re going to be here every year,” the senior official said.
It also ends the legal threat that districts faced to either have new teacher and principal evaluation plans ratified or risk losing scheduled state aid increases.
The budget will also require those handful of districts that did not make teacher evaluation deals with their unions – the largest being New York City and the only one in Western New York being Hamburg – to have agreements in place by May or the state education department will impose one in June.
The teacher evaluation system, which includes mandatory use of student standardized test scores as part of the scoring system, was a major push last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers. Cuomo insisted on the financial penalty language that held back state aid increases to districts that did not have a deal in place by last January.
Hamburg lost out on $450,000 in new state aid, but district Superintendent Steven Achramovitch said the money is due to come soon while a lawsuit over the issue brought in New York City is litigated.
The new plan will ensure the evaluation deals do not lapse, the senior Cuomo administration official said, speaking Friday at the Capitol. In the first year of the program, many districts enacted just one-year plans.
“We’re very confident that every school district and teachers union will have an evaluation plan in effect, and that collective bargaining will remain an important piece going forward,” said Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State United Teachers union. The possible exception to those plans this year, he said, was New York City.
The issue was among those still under discussion at the Capitol Friday as officials tried, again, to resolve remaining sticking points over a series of fiscal and nonfiscal issues.