Hamburg Central School teachers and administrators who failed to agree on a state-mandated teacher evaluation plan in January will sit down to talk about it later this month.
Hamburg Teachers Association President John Mrozek told The Buffalo News Tuesday night that the two sides plan to hammer out the local assessment section of the plan.
Had the plan been submitted on time, he said, the state Education Department mostly likely would have sent that section back for amendments.
The district is losing about $450,000 in state aid because an agreement on the Annual Professional Performance Review could not be reached by the deadline that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set. Cuomo tied the increase in next year’s state aid to school districts having plans in place by Sept. 1.
That could mean Hamburg could lose about $2 million if the plan is not approved by the teachers and district and finally the state, officials said.
Among related developments at Tuesday’s School Board meeting:
• The board president, vice president and administration said they want a teacher evaluation plan approved by the time the board votes on the new budget in April, so that revenue can be included.
• Board members defeated a proposal that called for a special meeting to hear from teachers on why they overwhelmingly defeated the proposed plan Jan. 11.
• The district plans to use reserve funds and fund balance to make up the loss of the $450,000 in aid.
Vice President Thomas F. Flynn III read a statement that President Joan Calkins and he prepared on behalf of the board that said adults must do what is best for the children.
“We are asking all parties to return to meaningful discussions and have a state approved APPR in place prior to the final board budget approval in April, so that the increase can be included in the budget,” he said.
The $450,000 will be taken out of the district’s March 8 state aid payment, he said.
“It’s not something you can recover,” Barbara S. Sporyz, director of administrative services, said of the lost aid.
The loss will have to be dealt with in next year’s budget as well, she said. She said this year’s budget is frozen, except for expenses that are necessary for the health and safety of students and staff.
Board member Sally Stephenson wanted the board to schedule a special meeting for next Tuesday to hear from teachers on why they turned down the evaluation plan. The resolution was defeated, 5-2, with most board members saying the matter is still under negotiation.
Stephenson said a survey by the teachers’ union showed the top reason for their rejection of the plan was distrust of the superintendent and administration. “The public needs to know the truth,” she said. “I think the administration needs to take some ownership of this one.”
She suggested that a third party help the board, administration and teachers come together.
She also chided Flynn and Calkins for reading a statement on behalf of the board when Stephenson knew nothing about it until it was read.
Calkins apologized. “Our goal is to go forward from here,” she said.
Board members also heard from one parent, Laura Heeter, who said she and her husband have been “appalled” by some of the behavior displayed by staff, community members and those representing the district.