Negotiations are continuing.
That’s all the Department of Education and United Federation of Teachers had to say on the final day before Gov. Cuomo’s deadline for putting in place a teacher evaluations deal or risk losing $250 million in state funding.
As of Wednesday evening, neither side will say if they are close to a deal, but they did not dismiss the possibility of an eleventh-hour deal late on Wednesday or Thursday.
The negotiations hit a roadblock on Tuesday as the two sides failed to find compromise on a number of issues, though sources on both sides would not elaborate on what those issues were.
On Monday, the UFT dispatched members to heavily trafficked transit hubs all over the city — including at two locations along Queens Boulevard — to hand out fliers asking citizens to demand a fair evaluations plan for teachers. UFT President Michael Mulgrew said if negotiations fail, Mayor Bloomberg would be to blame.
“If no agreement can be reached, it will be because the mayor cannot be brought to accept our position of what a teacher evaluation system needs to be, and he will once again try to blame teachers,” he said.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott had originally established a Dec. 20 deadline for the city and the union to come to a deal on a teacher evaluations plan, but the two sides blew through the deadline and are now up against the governor’s Jan. 17 date. New York City is one of the last school districts in the state to put together an evaluations plan.
Most districts have had one in place for a while. Even if the two sides come to an agreement before the deadline, it would still have to be approved by UFT’s Delegate Assembly, and that is not necessarily a certainly. However, unlike other districts, such as Hamburg, NY — a suburb of Buffalo where UFT members rejected a proposed deal last week — the deal will not be put to a vote by UFT members in the district.