Monday, April 6, 2015

The Unfunded Mandate(s) of the NYS Budget

Lots of new costs to school districts across the state with this new budget! Here are a list of just a few.
Got this from

Independent Evaluators. For some reason, the governor's office claims that having an independent evaluator observer over one million teachers throughout the state will cost no extra money. 'Teachers and principals', the argument goes,'can jgo perform those observations on their own'. That's nuts.

1. At a minimum, someone will have to cover the teaching periods or the buildings of the educators who go perform these evaluations.
2. Districts will have to train these teachers in the observation process. That takes time and money.

New Observation process Trainers both for teachers being observed and for teacher/principals observers will have to take place. Why? Well, because most of the state will be getting used to a brand new observation rubric. These are deeply detailed multi page rubrics. I once knew a guy who said it took him 2 years just to learn Danielson's Rubric and that once he stopped using it, he forgot most of it. Those trainings will cost money.

Mandatory 3020 hearings Here's a fact that will make teachers from New York City giggle: Most districts across the state are actually happy with their teachers! Outside of the city, there are very attempts to fire a teacher. With the new plan, district will be forced to fire a teacher who scores I three years in a row. Teacher shortage? tough crap. Need to hire an outside lawyer because the district is too small to place on on payroll? tough crap. Teacher who got caught in the crosshairs of VAM? tough ccrap. Three I's and you have to be fired.

Mandatory Improvement Plans These aren't in the budget but they are a part of King's current plan and part of almost every current 3012-c APPR I've seen. If a teacher's final score is a "D", the district must follow an improvement plan that the district has provided (that the district has provided). One of the big results of this budget are that many more teachers will score a "D" as a final rating (in fact, that was the whole political point to the switch: Let more teachers score lower). This means more improvement plans. Whether the district of the teacher will be compelled to pay for it matters not to me. Someone, other than the state, will have to pay for it.

Pensions I've now heard from multiple sources, each connected to NYSUT, that the budget will not fund the full amount of the state teacher pension obligations for the year. While this doesn't apply to New York City, it's still a pretty bad sign. Frankly, it's the type of thing that New Jersey does to its teachers and it's one of the few things that keeps New York State's retirement system in good shape: the government here in New York typically pays up what it owes public employees (also, there is a huge budget windfall this year, so there is actual reason to pay less). I hope there isn't any more I have to think about this -but if I do, 2017 is a pretty significant year. think I'll just leave that there.

Just to be clear: Unfunded mandates for suburban school districts mean higher property taxes and layoffs. Unfunded mandates for the big five urban districts mean a cut to service and a cut -through attrition- of the teaching and support force.


  1. Is that because that is the year NYS could vote on a constitutional convention to change the State pension plan?

    1. I'm glad you picked up on that so here's my understanding: my understanding is that a comvention can be called anytime but that changes to that plan -the teachers (or even civil servants) plan- can , constitutionally, be made every ten yeas.
      Am I correct or is it just that they can call a convention?
      Little help here!

    2. Sorry! And that 2017 is the ten year mark. K thanks,