Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos at the State Capitol in...

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos at the State Capitol in Albany. Credit: Steve Jacobs, 2010

ALBANY -- On the final day of the 2012 legislative session, the State Senate will consider Thursday whether to limit disclosure of teacher-evaluation ratings to only parents, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said Wednesday.

"We will certainly discuss it tomorrow and then make a decision," said Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced a bill at midnight Monday that would allow only parents to see ratings of their child's teachers. For the rest of the public, the state Education Department would post teacher ratings online but redact the names. The State Assembly already has passed the bill.

The revival of the teacher-evaluation issue was part of a flurry of activity at the State Capitol as lawmakers rushed to close business and head to their home districts to begin election campaigns.

Chances for a bill to help debt-ridden Nassau University Medical Center began to wane. An attempt to make certain Long Island Rail Road tickets good for up to six months rather than the current two weeks failed. A move to allow Suffolk County to establish its own "traffic violations bureau" to allow it -- and not the state -- to retain some of the money from fines seemed set to be approved Thursday. A measure to shield catering companies from workers' lawsuits over tips appeared near agreement.

With one day remaining, the teacher-evaluation issue remained the highest-profile statewide issue still alive.

After the Democrat-controlled Assembly passed Cuomo's bill, the governor said he would not press the Republican-led Senate to follow suit. He noted there was no urgency because the first assessments under the newly adopted evaluation system won't be completed for about two years.

But Republicans said they will give the proposal a full airing before they leave town.

"We're going to have a full-blown discussion," said Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "This is a very important issue."

Lawmakers earlier this year approved a new teacher-evaluation system in which instructors and principals would be classified as highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective. Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) have called for limiting access only to parents, and the state's powerful teachers' unions have signed on to the concept.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the most vocal opponent, saying the information should be available to everyone.

As lawmakers worked throughout the day, one key Long Island bill stalled. The bill proposes allowing Nassau University Medical Center to refinance about $300 million in debt to take advantage of current low interest rates, and backers said it would save the hospital at least $15 million in the long run.

Another Island bill hit a fatal snag. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck), would have allowed certain LIRR tickets to be used up to six months after purchase. But the Assembly applied the brakes over concerns over the wording of possible refunds.

With Ted Phillips

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