Updated 03/05/2013 10:57 PM
Judge Blocks City Hall From Cutting $260M From DOE Budget
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A judge ordered city officials Tuesday not to cut $260 million from its Department of Education as part of the ongoing battle over a teacher evaluation system.
The state originally withheld that money as a penalty for the city and union officials failure to agree on a evaluation system, but following a lawsuit an injunction blocked those cuts.
The city was added to the lawsuit after announcing plans to begin cutting services anyway.
The current injunction against the city now prevents the cuts at least until April 2, when city officials are expected to appear in court.
Governor Andrew Cuomo previously moved to have state officials develop the evaluation system by June, if the city is unable to reach an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers.
"There are no mulligans here in the education law. The law is the law. It's very clear," Cuomo said.
Meanwhile, advocates flooded into Albany on Tuesday to rally for increased school funding, and that same issue was also brewing in the corridors of the state capitol.
State leaders have vowed to work together to pass an on-time state budget later this month. It is a top priority for Cuomo, who often cites on-time budgets as a sign that the government is working.
But the lost school aid for New York City continues to linger and could threaten the budget's timeline.
"I would like, and I think the sentiment of our conference, is that we don't think the children of the city of New York should suffer for the failure of two people to make an agreement," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
The governor has been emphatic that the city's lost $260 million will not be restored.
"It's unacceptable because they are the ones that passed the law that said there is a penalty if you don't have a teacher evaluation system in place," Cuomo said.
Assembly Democrats were vowing Tuesday to restore it anyway.
"Well, I think what's clear is that right now the court has said that that action is inappropriate, so the court has basically said you have to restore that money," Silver said.
In response to the judge's order, city law officials expressed disagreement and said they're considering their legal options.