FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Commissioner King Restores SIG Funding For Five School Districts
State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. today announced he has restored School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding for five SIG school districts. King said the five districts -- Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Rochester, Albany and Schenectady -- have all submitted acceptable teacher evaluation and support agreements in accordance with their initial applications for federal SIG funding. In January, King suspended SIG funding for 10 districts across the state due to failure to reach evaluation and support agreements that complied with the state and federal SIG requirements.
"Teacher and principal evaluations are a major ingredient of the Regents reform agenda," Commissioner King said. "The evaluation agreements submitted by these five districts are clear evidence that school districts and local unions can come together to craft a meaningful evaluation system. The end result is better teaching and improved learning, both of which translate into better opportunities for the students in SIG schools.
"This proves that districts and teachers can get it done. After SIG funding was suspended in January, these five districts went back to the drawing board and worked out agreements that meet the state and federal requirements. All five districts can now receive their 2011-12 SIG funding. Students at these schools have been denied a good education for far too long. Meaningful teacher evaluations and the improvements funded with SIG money should help start to turn that around."
King noted that the initial approvals of districts’ SIG applications for the 2011-12 school year were based in part on commitments that districts and the teachers and principals unions would revise, by December 31, 2011, collective bargaining agreements for classroom teachers and building principals assigned to Transformation and Restart schools to implement the provisions of Education Law §3012-c, Commissioner's regulations, and the federal SIG requirements. The failure of the districts to meet those commitments led to the suspension of funding. King said the five districts whose SIG funding is still suspended, New York City, Roosevelt, Buffalo, Yonkers and Greenburgh Eleven, have requested hearings to challenge his ruling.
King added that the five evaluation agreements accepted by his office apply only for the current school year. If the evaluation legislation announced last week becomes law, these school districts will have to submit new evaluation agreements that comply with the new law.
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