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King outlines path for arbitration in NYC's teacher eval dispute

State Education Commissioner John King released details of the arbitration process meant to settle a longstanding dispute over teacher evaluations in New York City. The process, outlined in state law, will determine the city’s teacher evaluation system for the next school year.

The first part of the process, pre-hearing arbitration, gets kickstarted as soon as the city and the United Federation of Teachers electronically post separate evaluation plans to the state’s Review Room website, where districts have uploaded their evaluation plans as they complete them. The state wants to see the specific areas under dispute and will review position papers — limited to 20 pages in length — in which each side argues its respective stands.

Those materials are due at 11:59 p.m. today. Both sides say they’ll submit before the deadline, rather than submit a jointly negotiated deal.

The documents won’t be made public. The state has promised confidentiality because the plans are considered “unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” which are protected from public scrutiny.

King and his evaluations team plan to circle back with both sides in a conference call in six days to discuss the plans and “develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for implementation” next year.

The city and the union still have until May 29 to hammer out a deal on their own. After that, the two sides will present their cases to King in a hearing known as an expedited arbitration proceeding. King has until June 1 to make a decision and impose a plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

The complete release is below:


State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. released the procedures that have been shared with the parties and will be used by the State Education Department (SED) in the period prior to a hearing for the arbitration process established in the provisions of the newly enacted Budget for districts that did not have an approved annual professional performance review (APPR) plan on or before January 17, 2013 and do not have an APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 8, 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. A total of 690 school district APPR plans have been approved. As of this date, the New York City School District is the only school district in New York State without an approved APPR plan for the 2012-2013 school year. Education Law §3012-c, as amended in the newly enacted Budget, now requires that these 2012-2013 APPR plans approved by the Commissioner, as well as any APPR plan determined by the Commissioner through this arbitration process, remain in effect until a subsequent plan is collectively bargained and then approved by the Commissioner.

The procedures are as follows:

• Absent a negotiated and approved APPR plan, each party must post at SED’s Review Room web portal a separate submission reflecting their positions for all applicable elements of the district’s APPR plan with appropriate position papers by May 8th at 11:59 p.m. Parties must also serve a copy of their Review Room submission and position papers to each of the parties at that time. No additional submissions, including responses, will be permitted after the May 8th statutory deadline.

• All Review Room submissions must include a list of provisions of the APPR that are in dispute. Each party will also be permitted to attach a written explanation of its positions on any such disputed provisions and/or any issues that need to be resolved for the parties to fully implement the district’s APPR plan.

• Position papers, which must be attached to Review Room submissions, will be limited to 20 pages.

• Because these documents reflect unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, SED will consider all APPR submissions and position papers to be confidential.

• SED will schedule a pre-arbitration telephone conference on Tuesday, May 14th for the parties and the Commissioner, and/or his designee(s), to discuss the parties’ submissions and to develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for full implementation of an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year and specify the details of arbitration proceedings in the event the parties continue to have no APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 29th.

• In the event that the parties fail to reach an agreement on the APPR plan by May 29, 2013, the Commissioner shall conduct an expedited arbitration proceeding. Following such hearing, the Commissioner is required to render a final and binding written determination on or before June 1, 2013, which shall prescribe the standards and procedures necessary for the respective district to implement an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year, for a term prescribed by the Commissioner.

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