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Hamburg approves teacher evaluation plan

Hamburg Central School District has a teacher evaluation plan, three months after it was due.

The School Board approved the plan Friday morning after teachers voted overwhelmingly in favor of it Thursday.

The new plan is different from the one that was discussed in January, and both sides praised it.

John Mrozek, president of the Hamburg Teachers Association, called it an “outstanding” document.

“I think it will be the standard for other districts when they start reviewing theirs,” he said.

Teachers adopted the plan, 220-51.

“I think it’s a better plan,” Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch said. “It’s more comprehensive than we had going in January, and I think it’s obviously a plan everybody thought was better because it has been approved.”

Hamburg had been one of only four districts in New York State not to come to an agreement on the Annual Professional Performance Review, or APPR. New York State threatened to withhold state aid from the districts as a penalty for not submitting it.

The plan took some turns along the way, with the Hamburg Teachers Association rejecting the first plan in January. Negotiations resumed, then broke off when several teachers said their jobs were threatened if they did not approve a second plan. The district denied the charges.

At that point, it was too late to get the plan approved by the state Education Department. Hamburg was threatened with losing about $450,000, which was to be withheld from its March payment from the state. But the full payment was made.

All the districts received their state aid, pending the result of a lawsuit filed by New York City parents over the loss of their aid.

“It’s my hope that we will be able to retain the funds. We now have a plan and it’s our hope that we will just proceed from here on in with that funding intact,” Achramovitch said.

The state budget approved in March also eliminated the penalty for the future, by mandating that plans stay in effect until a new plan is negotiated. If the four districts that didn’t have plan did not agree by May 8, the state education commissioner would serve as an arbitrator and impose a plan. That way no district will be without a plan.

Achramovitch said the plan would be sent to the state Education Department before Tuesday.