Three school districts poised to lose state aid Jan. 17

Three out of the remaining 54 school districts that haven’t received final approval from the state on their new teacher and principal evaluation plans are located on the North Fork, according to state officials.

Although New Suffolk and Oysterponds elementary school districts have already submitted their annual professional performance reviews plan, known as APPR, state officials said they’ve failed to resubmit them for final approval as of Friday afternoon.

School districts stand to lose state aid if they fail to have their APPR plans approved by Jan. 17.

State Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said staffers are “available around the clock to review submissions.”

“We will review any plans we receive between now and Jan. 17 as expeditiously as possible, but we will not sacrifice quality for speed,” Mr. Burman said.

Oysterponds school superintendent Dick Malone said the district had sent the state the district’s APPR plan, but hasn’t been able to resubmit it for final approval.

“[The state] knows we’re still in contract negotiations with our teachers,” he said. “The plan has to be part of the new contract for the teachers.”

The Oysterponds school board has been ironing out a new teacher’s contract to replace the agreement that expired during the 2010-2011 school year. Since the school board and teacher’s union have reached an impasse, officials said the matter is being mediated through the state’s Public Employment Relations Board, known as PERB.

PERB is also mediating contract negotiations between the Shoreham-Wading River school district and its administrators union.

The SWR school district originally submitted the APPR plan on July 1, with only the signatures of the board and the head of the teachers union, after a general counsel for the state education department informed the district it could still have its plan reviewed without signatures from all the bargaining units.

On Dec. 28, the state reversed that policy, stating all APPR plans across the state that would be reviewed needed to have all the proper signatures, SWR school board president Bill McGrath said Tuesday.

New Suffolk school superintendent Michael Comanda said the district had first submitted its evaluation plan this summer. After the state asked New Suffolk to revise the document in August, Mr. Comanda said the final APPR plan was sent this Wednesday.

Other East End school districts that haven’t received final approval from the state include Fishers Island and Montauk.

When asked if there’s any leeway for school districts currently in contract negotiations with their unions, Mr. Burman said there will be “no exceptions.”

“The law doesn’t provide for that,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

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