Cuomo: No Extensions for Districts Missing Deadline

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday school districts that don’t get approved teacher evaluation plans by today’s deadline will “fail their fundamental mission.”

He stressed there will be no extensions for the 14 school districts that did not have approval as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, including the massive New York City Department of Education.

“Today is the day. It’s the one-year mark, and the compliance has been overwhelming,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday on a public radio show in Albany. “All but a small handful have figured out how to do it, and we’re saying to the small handful: You’re the outliers. Everybody else could do it; you should be able to do it.”

Cuomo signed into law last January a measure that tied approved evaluation plans with a 4 percent increase in state funding. Districts that miss the deadline forfeit the money.

Cuomo said districts have requested extensions, but there were no requests on Wednesday or Thursday morning.

“We’ve been talking about putting this teacher evaluation system in for years — literally years and years,” he said on the Capitol Pressroom. “We won federal grants based on the fact that we were putting the teacher evaluation system in place, and then we just never did it.”

Cuomo pushed schools to implement the evaluations by threatening the loss of $800 million in funding. Total school aid from the state is about $20 billion.

The controversial evaluations, which require union negotiation, rate educators based largely on student test scores and observations.

Under the law, teachers and principals are rated on a scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective.” Two of the lowest scores consecutively can be grounds for termination.

“My point was: You want funding from the state, you have to perform in your job,” Cuomo said.

Other than New York City, districts that have not submitted proposals are Harrison schools in Westchester County, Fallsburg schools in Sullivan County and Pine Plains in Dutchess County.

It is unlikely these districts will get approval, as the state Education Department required every single approved district — nearly 680 of them — to make revisions and resubmit before their proposals were accepted.

Nine districts, including Buffalo schools, still needed to resubmit their revised proposals to the state Thursday. It is unclear whether they’ll be able to get approval in time, but state Education Commissioner John King said earlier this week that his staff is working “around the clock.”

“But this is not a rubber stamp process,” he said in a statement Monday. “We will not sacrifice quality for expediency just to approve a last minute submission. Every district’s plan must be consistent with the law.”

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