The Hamburg Central School District must be taking lessons from administrators in Buffalo.
The way the city’s suburban neighbor let $472,000 in state aid slip through its hands because it did not have a teacher evaluation plan in place by Jan. 17 nearly mirrors the urban district’s woes. And, just as in the city, Hamburg’s students are the ones losing out in the end because adults can’t follow instructions.
Hamburg’s director of administrative services said she was surprised to discover the missing aid when she checked the state education website in mid-June.
Hamburg, one of four school districts in the state that did not have a teacher evaluation plan approved by the state’s mid-January deadline, thought it had lucked out. The district was supposed to lose increased state aid for the 2012-13 school year, but the aid was not withheld from the district’s payment in March.
New York City seemed to have bought the district time. Nine parents in the Big Apple filed a lawsuit in February challenging the loss of $250 million in aid to their district after teachers and administrators failed to agree on a plan.
When a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan issued a preliminary injunction, saying the aid could not be withheld from New York City until the case was heard in court, State Ed decided to give Hamburg and New York a break. Meanwhile, Hamburg teachers and the administration finally agreed at the end of March to an evaluation plan, which was approved by the state on May 6.
No worries, right?
Parents won the suit, then the state appealed and now it’s hard to tell where things stand. However, it is clear that this mess has affected Hamburg. In addition to losing the $472,000 in aid, district officials are understandably worried about another $620,000 the district is supposed to receive this year.
As reported in The News, the district must certify each year that its plan was implemented the previous year in order to receive the increase in state aid. However, because Hamburg’s plan was not approved until May 6, there wasn’t enough time for the due diligence required by the state before the end of the school year.
Who knows how all of this will turn out? Not settling down and figuring out a way to devise an acceptable evaluation plan on time ended up costing the district.
This was a teachable moment that students could have afforded to miss.