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Educators Respond to Cuomo's School Aid Plan

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Governor Cuomo is proposing a $1.1 billion increase in aid to schools - but it's coming with some conditions.

"38 percent of high school students are college ready. 38 percent. 98.7 percent of high school teachers are rated effective. How can that be?" said Cuomo.

Cuomo wants a new set of teacher evaluations - one that would base 50 percent of an educator's rating on state test performance, with the other 50 percent coming from classroom observation.

"Schools implemented the Teacher Evaluation System under the law that he dictated. So if he's not happy with the performance then he probably ought to take a look at how that law was generated," said Allen Buyck, District Superintendent for Broome/Tioga BOCES.

They say the gap in low student performance and high teacher scores doesn't lie with the teachers, instead with the underlying issue of poverty.

"51 percent of students in New York State qualify for free and reduced lunch under poverty calculations. It is a roadblock to performance," said Vestal Central School Superintendent Mark LaRoach.

"If you look at where schools are having trouble it's in districts that have high priority levels," said Catharine Farrell, Regional Staff Director for NYSUT.

Cuomo is calling for teachers with two consecutive inadequate scores to be removed. He wants to expand charter schools and provide a system that would allow other districts, non-profits, or mayors to take over chronically failing districts. And Cuomo is tying the $1.1 billion aid increase to the Legislature passing his reforms.

"Unless I receive all that I want to receive as the Governor I'm going to pick up my marbles and go home? That doesn't help," said LaRoach.

"This was never about protecting and growing a
bureaucracy. It was about helping young people," said Cuomo.

In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News.