STA Reacts to Commissioner King's Suspension of SIG School Funding
As many of you may already know, NYSED Commissioner John King suspended funding for SIG Schools (PLA Schools) in 10 districts across the state last evening. Despite the fact that, according to the commissioner, Syracuse “showed real progress toward meeting the requirements for a teacher and principal evaluation system agreed to in their SIG applications,” the SCSD was included in this group.
To say that the STA is shocked by this development would be an understatement. As late as yesterday afternoon we had every indication from the state that our funding would be secure. Our proposal was submitted prior to the commissioner’s arbitrary December 31st deadline and we have already begun rubric training in the redesign schools. Our APPR negotiating team is scheduled to meet next Friday to develop the final process for this year’s teacher evaluation in the SIG schools.
It is unfortunate that the commissioner’s political brinksmanship has such serious consequences for our most vulnerable students. The approximately $14 million the district receives in SIG funding supports over 60 full-time teaching positions and scores of 1/6th positions providing direct services to kids. After years of chronic underfunding, the commissioner is well aware that the SCSD is in no position to go forward without the SIG funds. His actions yesterday are in direct conflict with his own mantra of putting kids first.
Despite this unfortunate development, we will continue to work collaboratively and in good faith with the SCSD to develop a fair and meaningful teacher evaluation system despite a lack of adequate funding, support and accurate information coming from NYSED. We will also do whatever is necessary to preserve this critical funding and, more importantly, continue to do what’s best for kids.