NY Gov. Cuomo to Tie District Funding to Teacher Evaluations

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned school districts to adopt new evaluation systems for teachers or risk losing a portion of their state funding.

Cuomo used his annual budget to outline a series of measures that he hopes would preserve almost $1 billion in federal education funding.

Mr. Cuomo is giving district officials one year to implement new systems based on the state framework or they will risk losing a 4% increase in state aid, writes Lisa Fleisher at the Wall Street Journal.

New York school districts and teachers unions haven’t been able to agree on a new system. But Cuomo warns that unless issues are sorted out, the state could lose their Race to the Top money.

Delays began when the state teachers union sued districts over regulations that would have allowed local districts to use state test scores for 40% of a teacher’s evaluation, claiming that it was illegal. Since then, tempers have frayed and the stop-start discussions have been protracted.

But now, as schools are set to lose $223 million in state aid, it remains to be seen what effect Cuomo’s proposal will have on the struggle.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, is happy to see the Governor wade into the argument:

“I see this as, ‘Mr. Mayor get back to the table’.

“If they don’t come back to the table, then they’re basically saying that they don’t care about close to somewhere between $400 million and a half a billion dollars for the children of New York City.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the governor’s approach:

“I hope the UFT will not recklessly jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars for our schools by insisting on endless obstacles to removing ineffective teachers from our classrooms.

“The governor has rightly said he will not tolerate this.”

Mr. Bloomberg last week outlined his proposal to give permanent $20,000 raises to teachers with the highest rating for two years in a row, but union officials didn’t see the plan as viable.

Lawmakers have also been cautious about Cuomo’s proposal. It remains to be seen what negotiations will be struck.