By Tom Precious
ALBANY – The slowly emerging state budget will include a provision that permanently locks into place teacher evaluation deals for New York’s 700 school districts, a senior Cuomo administration official said Friday.
The new idea would end the legal and, more importantly, financial threat this year that districts faced to either have new teacher and principal evaluation plans ratified or risk losing scheduled state aid funding increases. The senior Cuomo aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new hammer over schools and unions will be included in the 2013 state budget.
The budget will also require those handful of districts that did not make teacher evaluation deals with their unions by last January – 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 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 senior Cuomo administration official, speaking this afternoon at the Capitol, said the new plan will ensure the evaluation deals do not lapse.
In the first year of the program, many districts enacted just one-year plans.
“Once the plan is in place the plan does not sunset anywhere unless a new plan is put in place,’’ the official said. The official said it ends the financial threat against districts that don’t get evaluation deals in place. “That means the plans are here to stay. They’re going to be here every year,’’ the official said.