By Tom Precious
ALBANY -– New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the school districts that obtained teacher evaluation agreements have committed “fraud” if, as most did, their deals with unions remain in effect for only one year.
Bloomberg this morning told a joint Assembly and Senate fiscal panel considering the state’s budget that most districts in the state failed, as required by the 2010 teacher evaluation law, to obtain multi-year agreements with their teacher and principal unions. It has been estimated that about 90 percent of the state’s nearly 700 districts, including most in Western New York, obtained only one-year evaluation agreements with unions. Buffalo was one of the few to get a two-year deal, though there is a clause allowing the sides to renegotiate after the first year of the plan.
Districts across the state rushed to get deals by a Jan. 17 deadline or risk losing planned four percent increases in state aid. New York City was one of a handful unable to meet the deadline, which Bloomberg today blamed on the teachers union.
“Everybody is just interested in getting the money and committing what I call fraud," Bloomberg told lawmakers about the deals most districts made over the past several months.“The law prohibits you from being evaluated in one year … People are saying something, and they didn’t," he said as the first person to testify on the first day of legislative hearings on the governor’s 2013 budget plan. Of those with one-year teacher evaluation agreements, Bloomberg said, “None of them will effectively rate the teachers and let the districts do something about them.’’
Bloomberg said the city is facing large numbers of teacher cutbacks as a result of the failed talks that, he said, will cost New York City more than $700 million in lost state aid over two years.