State legislators have removed an obstacle in the way of an agreement over teacher evaluations in New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to amend the law to clarify that once an evaluation system is put in place, it cannot expire, or "sunset," unless replaced by a new system.
This has been a major sticking point in negotiations between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers.
The mayor repeatedly said he did not want an agreement that would expire before it could weed out ineffective teachers.
Now, he said he is not quite sure this clears the way for a deal.
"I have, as you know, criticized these one-year agreements that would sunset after a year when you have to have at least a two year evaluation period. I think the governor's solution, I haven't talked to the governor about it, but from what I've read in the paper, that it would come under the Triborough Amendment is a solution to that problem," Bloomberg said. "I think it's helpful. I don't know whether it would clear the way to a deal. We still have to negotiate with the teacher's union."
UFT President Michael Mulgrew says in a statement, "State Education Commissioner John King, and everyone else, has said over and over again that the 'sunset' was not an issue. This just clarifies that point."
City schools lost more than $260 million in aid for not complying with the governor's evaluation mandate.
If no evaluation system is adopted by May 29, the state plans to impose one on the city.