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|UFT President Michael Mulgrew|
The union, headed by Michael Mulgrew, and the city must reach a deal on the evaluations by Jan. 17 or risk losing $250 million in aid.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, December 27, 2012, 9:54 PM
City officials accused the teachers union of breaking the law by demanding raises and other goodies during contentious negotiations over teacher evaluations.
The city and union have until Jan. 17 to reach a deal on a new way to evaluate teachers or risk losing $250 million in state funds, but the two sides have deadlocked and union boss Michael Mulgrew broke off talks last week.
The city responded Thursday with a damning complaint to a state labor board that blasted the union for improperly trying to extract unrelated union benefits during the negotiations, including a raise for teachers and a limit to the number of school closings.
The complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board says the union even tried to reduce the amount of paperwork that teachers have to do.
“Mulgrew’s failure to bargain in good faith and insistence on including issues unrelated to teacher evaluation is unacceptable and illegal,” Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement. “The city will not let him hold these negotiations hostage.”
On Thursday, Mulgrew blasted the city for “playing games,” saying he wants talks to resume but first wants to discuss how schools will be trained to properly implement the evaluations before settling on specifics.
Even as the sides are warring, the Daily News has learned that schools are already using part of that new evaluation to fire or otherwise tar teachers.
Five teachers have separately filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court to allege that they improperly received unsatisfactory ratings based on the new, still unapproved method of observing them at work.
“Those cases are very clear examples and evidence that (Department of Education officials) don’t know what they’re doing,” Mulgrew said.
In the most recent case, filed last Friday, former special education teacher Kristin Achtziger received two satisfactory ratings in previous years at Public School 199 in Queens, but was dismissed last year after her school improperly started using a new method, the suit alleges.
Under current rules, teachers meet with their administrators before and after an administrator observes them and know when they’re going to be observed.
Achtziger says she had a formal observation only once last school year — and received a positive rating, but the administration also conducted unannounced “walkthroughs” and never alerted her to problems until the end of June, when she was fired. email@example.com