The state budget agreement includes a clause allowing school districts’ teacher evaluation agreements to roll over each year unless the plans are renegotiated.
School districts without an approved plan—namely, the massive New York City district—will go to binding arbitration in May with the state education commissioner. If there’s not an agreement by the start of school in September, the commissioner, John King, will impose one, according to the bill.
The education funding bill was printed last night, and the Senate plans to vote on it Wednesday. The Assembly will return to the Capitol Thursday to pass all budget bills in a marathon session.
Most of the state’s roughly 700 school districts negotiated with local unions plans that last only one year.
Critics questioned the effectiveness of short-term plans, since a teacher must receive two consecutive low ratings in order to be removed. King has said he expects districts to make only small, technical changes from year to year, and those changes would not affect a school’s ability to fire an “ineffective” teacher.
The negotiation process was tedious and contentious in some districts, and it took most schools much of last year to reach an agreement. Schools were concerned developing one-year plans would mean costly and time-consuming renegotiations annually.
It appears this statutory change will quell those worries.
Here’s the budget language:
“In the event a school district does not have an annual professional performance review plan approved by the commissioner for the applicable school year as of September first of that year, the collectively bargained plan most recently approved or the plan determined by the commissioner shall remain in effect until a subsequent plan is agreed to by the parties in accordance with this section and is approved by the commissioner.
“If a school district that did not have an annual professional performance review plan approved by the commissioner on or before January seventeenth, two thousand thirteen, does not have an annual professional performance review plan approved by the commissioner or determined pursuant to this paragraph in place for the following school year on or before the Wednesday following the first Friday in May, such school district and the collective bargaining representatives representing classroom teachers and building principals shall submit written explanations of their respective positions regarding such issues to the commissioner by such date.
“If such a school district does not have an annual professional performance review plan approved by the commissioner or determined pursuant to this paragraph in place on or before the Wednesday preceding the last Friday in May, the commissioner shall conduct an arbitration proceeding and shall hold no more than two days of hearings on the standards and procedures necessary to implement an annual professional performance review plan pursuant to this section.”