Governor Cuomo and the State Education Department are saying a side deal between the Buffalo school district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation regarding teacher evaluations is illegal and should be blocked. The union is going to court to uphold the deal.
The Buffalo School District plans to scrap its memorandum of understanding on teacher evaluations. In a written statement, Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown says the State Education Department determined the MOU between the district and the Buffalo Teachers Federation is void.
When a snowstorm buried the Buffalo area under more than a foot of snow the day after Christmas, pedestrians in some spots were forced to walk in the street -- dodging cars, buses and trucks because sidewalks were clogged with snow. In a column that followed the storm, Buffalo News Suburban Editor Bruce Andriatch called on municipalities to begin ticketing property owners who fail to clear their sidewalks.
Governor Cuomo says he no longer thinks settling the issue of making teacher evaluations public is “urgent” and will allow the legislature to leave later this week without an agreement on the matter. Cuomo, speaking on former Governor David Paterson’s radio show on WOR, says the legislature will end its session for the summer without acting on a plan on how to make public teacher evaluations public, saying that the evaluations do not have to be completed by schools until January, anyway.“Nothing that we have left, frankly is that urgent that it can’t take more time,” said Cuomo.
The Buffalo Public Schools District received word from the State Education Department Thursday that it would approve improvement grants for six city schools.
The Education Department says it approved six of seven school improvement grants, but only if the district is able to reach agreement with on a teacher evolution plan with the Buffalo Teachers Federation by July 1.
"We are the adults in this city, every one of us, and the only people being hurt by this are the kids in this city," said interim Schools Superintendent Amber Dixon.
The Buffalo Teachers Federation staged a walkout during the New York State United Teachers convention on Friday.
The walkout came as state education commissioner John King, Jr. took the stage. King is the focal point in a dispute between the BTF and the state over teacher evaluations. At stake is millions of dollars for low-performing schools. King believes that a resolution is near but that teachers have been misinformed by union leaders.
The News reports that the BTF's actions were supported by a number of attendees from across the state.
The New York State Board of Regents today followed a recommendation to close Pinnacle Charter School in June at the end of the current school year.
The Education Department recommended the school closing because of persistent sub-par scores on state tests. There is no appeal process, although school officials were meeting with legal counsel Tuesday about a possible lawsuit to block the closing.
Parents, teachers, and students have been rallying in recent days to keep the school open.
A local politician is urging a resolution to the teacher evaluation battle between the state and the local teacher's union.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples is calling for a possible state takeover of the city's public schools if an agreement isn't accepted by the Buffalo Teachers Federation. The evaluation plan will be a statewide mandate and millions of dollars in funding for Buffalo's lowest-performing schools are at risk.
A protest against the BTF is being planned for Monday evening.
The Buffalo School Board could be voting soon on laying off dozens of employees after leaders of the teacher's union approved keeping an attendance clause in the district's teacher evaluation agreement.
Albany insists chronically absent students must count. The dispute is holding up $9 million in funding for six of Buffalo's low-achieving schools.