Hamburg Misses out on State Funding; Buffalo's Teacher Plan Approved ; School Funding Required Teacher Evaluation Plan
Pasciak, Mary, The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)
The Buffalo Public Schools got state approval for a teacher evaluation plan just in the nick of time Thursday, likely salvaging millions in state aid - while the Hamburg School District apparently forfeited $454,000 for its failure to submit a negotiated plan.
The president and vice president of the Hamburg Teachers Association met early Thursday evening with Superintendent Steven Achramovitch to discuss how to move forward in the absence of that state aid, according to someone in the union.
Hamburg was the only district in Western New York and one of only half a dozen in the state - including New York City - not to have an approved evaluation plan as of 8 p.m. Thursday.
Negotiations in Hamburg appeared to be on the brink of producing a successful agreement Tuesday when a district official told some teachers that their jobs would be lost if the district did not reach an agreement on evaluations. Union representatives pulled out of negotiations then, objecting to what they described as an implied threat.
Leaders of Hamburg's teachers union asked for help from the New York State United Teachers union at that point, sources said.
"We are encouraging both the district and the union to resume negotiations," NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn said at midday Thursday, but that did not happen.
Neither Achramovitch nor Hamburg Teachers Association President John Mrozek returned calls seeking comment.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo released a brief statement Thursday morning that appeared to remove any uncertainty over the possibility of an extension for Hamburg or any district.
"Today is the final deadline for the handful of school districts, including New York City, that have failed to get their teacher evaluation systems in place," he said. "Please hear me - there will be no extensions or exceptions."
At that point, he noted, 98 percent of the 700 or so districts in the state had approved evaluation plans.
"The remaining districts and their unions have until midnight tonight [Thursday] to do the same or they will forfeit the increase in education aid they have been counting on and both parties will have failed the children they serve," Cuomo said.
In Buffalo, district and union officials reached an agreement Tuesday night. State Education Department officials called them Wednesday morning with a number of adjustments that leaders from the union as well as the district described as minor. …