NYC, teachers union at impasse on evaluations

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New York City and a union representing the city's 75,000 teachers were at an impasse Thursday in negotiations over a teacher evaluation plan, putting the city at risk of losing up to $450 million in state aid and grants.

The two sides blamed each other, while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insisted a midnight deadline for a plan was firm.

"Please hear me: There will be no extensions or exceptions," Cuomo said Thursday.

Without the evaluation plan, the city stands to lose $250 million in state aid and $200 million in grants. That's a small percentage of the city Department of Education's $19.7 billion operating budget, but the loss would be felt.

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A 2010 New York law required districts to submit evaluation plans. Twenty percent of the evaluations must be based on state test scores. Another 20 percent must be based on local measures and 60 percent must include class observations and can include parent or student surveys.

Each of New York State's nearly 700 school districts was told to submit a plan to the state Education Department for approval by Thursday or lose their increases in state aid. All but New York City and three smaller districts submitted plans by Wednesday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the union "unilaterally walked away" from the talks, while United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew blamed Bloomberg for the impasse.

Bloomberg said the UFT had made unreasonable demands, including a clause that the deal sunset in June 2015. He said that would render the evaluation system "meaningless." But Mulgrew called the claims "misrepresentations."

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