Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ready to carry out his pledge to have the state Education Department settle the costly impasse over New York City teacher evaluations if the city and union can’t come to terms on their own.
An administration official confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the governor’s 30-day budget amendments this week will propose establishing the state as arbitrator of the dispute between the school system and United Federation of Teachers. If the two sides miss a Sept. 17 deadline for a negotiated system for assessing the performance of the city’s 75,000 teachers, a state-drafted system would be imposed.
The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the proposal publicly in advance. The proposal was first reported by the New York Post.
At the end of January, Cuomo vowed to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City if the impasse, which has already cost city schools $250 million in state aid, continued. Legislative leaders have said they support state intervention, if necessary.
“The UFT would prefer a negotiated settlement with the Department of Education,” spokesman Peter Kadushin said Tuesday, “but rather than seeing the schools suffer any more loss of state funding, is supportive of the state imposing one if an agreement cannot be reached before the September deadline.”
Education Department spokeswoman Connie Pankratz said discussions with the union are ongoing. Department officials had not seen Cuomo’s proposal and could not comment on it, she said.
All of the state’s nearly 700 districts had to submit an evaluation plan for teachers and principals and have it approved by the state Education Department by Jan. 17 in order to receive an increase in state education aid for the current school year. New York City was among a handful of districts to miss the deadline.
Without an evaluation system by September’s deadline, New York City schools stand to lose another an additional increase in state aid of at least $200 million. State Education Commissioner John King has said hundreds of millions of dollars more in federal aid are at risk, including Race to the Top funding that came with a promise to implement a new evaluation system.