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Despite clear language in the new evaluation law requiring collective bargaining for many key aspects of evaluation, several school districts and BOCES chose to declare impasse and unilaterally develop APPR plans and file them with NYSED for approval. In support of this, they cited a previous PERB decision regarding an issue in Wappingers Falls. That proves to have been an unwise, simplistic approach to this complex process. NYSED had accepted such plans but had not acted on them. SAANYS, and other representative associations, consistently opposed these APPR plans, disagreeing with the applicability of the Wappingers decision. As a result, formal actions against the districts were initiated and plans for litigation, should the plans be approved by NYSED, were being developed.
On December 28, Commissioner King sent letters to the superintendents of these districts, notifying them that their plans would not be approved absent the signature of appropriate unit presidents representing principals and teachers. In this letter, the commissioner stated:
“… consistent with the intent of Education Law 3012-c, the Commissioner will not approve APPR unless there is proof of final agreement evidenced by sign-off by the affected unions… “
Commissioner King also indicated that unless a district reaches “final agreement with its unions,” there is a “severe risk” of not receiving the 2012-13 state aid increases. He urged these districts to reach agreement and submit appropriate APPR plans soon.
Now, all districts that chose to ignore the collective bargaining obligation regarding APPR must accelerate such negotiations with teachers and/or principals to minimize this risk. SAANYS will continue to work with our units in these and other districts with unresolved APPR negotiations to settle on fair evaluation procedures for principals. Once the January 17 “deadline” is reached, we will all know which districts have had APPR plans approved and will follow closely the distribution of state aid based on this requirement.