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Little time left for teacher evaluation approvals
A handful of Hudson Valley school districts are among about two dozen statewide that have yet to submit teacher evaluation plans to the state for approval.
School districts have until Jan. 17 to get state Education Department approval for the plans to receive state aid increases for the 2012-13 school year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo underlined last week that there will be no leniency for districts who fail to get their plans approved.
“This was a hard deadline. If you get it done, great: You get 4 percent additional funding. If you don't get it done, that's your business, but you then don't get the 4 percent additional funding," Cuomo said.
In Yonkers, the school superintendent and union leader have been wrestling over the evaluation plan. Public Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio has accused the teachers union of putting $17 million in funding and 126 positions at risk. Teachers union president Pat Puleo said the administration should give the teachers a full contract to vote on along with the evaluations.
But on Thursday, Pierorazio said he was optimistic that the parties can come up with a plan.
In Harrison, Superintendent Louis Wool has said that the parties are working diligently on a plan but would not sacrifice quality just to meet an arbitrary deadline.
State Education Commissioner John King Jr. is urging districts to submit plans as soon as possible, saying it will take four to six weeks to review.
"The longer they wait, the more difficult it will be to complete our review by the deadline," King said. "We’ll move as fast as we can, but we will not sacrifice the quality of the review.”
The following school districts had not yet submitted a plan as of Dec. 21: Onteora and Rondout in Ulster County; Hyde Park, Pine Plains and Rhinebeck in Dutchess County; and Yonkers and Harrison in Westchester County, according to the governor’s office.