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Cuomo Puts Education Funding On The Line In Teacher Evaluations Debate

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Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that a proposed increase in education funding is contingent upon teachers and officials agreeing on a new statewide teacher evaluation system, and he added that he’ll impose his own system if they don’t. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said some math is easy.

"The equation is simple at the end of the day: no evaluation, no money, period," said Cuomo during a Tuesday speech on his executive budget plan.

He was referring to teacher evaluations. Despite state law that requires they reach a deal, unions and school districts are still far apart. In fact, teachers are suing the state over it.

Hundreds of millions in federal funds are at stake.

Though he initially said he wouldn't wade in, Cuomo said teachers and officials need to agree or he’ll propose his own plan.

"Education really isn't an employment program for adults. It's an education program for the students," said Cuomo.

The governor is giving the two sides 30 days to reach an agreement.

After that, no matter who comes up with the system, it has to be used. If not, school districts would stand to lose not just the federal money, but a 4 percent bump in state aid Cuomo is promising to places that go along.

The state Legislature is seen as having limited power to do anything about it.

"The school districts and the unions should be concerned about the loss of funding—school districts from a funding perspective, the unions that represents teachers from a perspective, ‘we lose funding, we lose jobs," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg also praised the plan while blaming the teachers union for the current stalemate.

"I hope the [United Federation of Teachers] will not recklessly jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars for our schools by insisting on endless obstacles to removing ineffective teachers from our classrooms," said Bloomberg.

The UFT had a similar reaction about the mayor.

"I'm hoping that this pressure being put upon the mayor and on the city will bring them back to the negotiation table so that we can get the tough work of getting a new evaluation system for the city of New York done," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT.

Cuomo said that evaluations could be about reward in addition to punishment. On that message, he actually might encounter resistance from teacher unions.

The city's teachers union is balking at Bloomberg's idea to give $20,000 bonuses for highly rated teachers.

In fact, Mulgrew called it ineffective and “disgusting.”

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