Union Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg
HAMBURG, NY -- Midnight is the state's deadline for teacher evaluation plans and the Hamburg School District is the only one in Western New York that does not have an agreement with its teachers' union.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement on Thursday that there will be no extensions or exceptions. The statement reads : "The remaining districts and their unions have until midnight tonight to do the same (98% of districts have implemented such agreements in place) or they will forfeit the increase in education aid they have been counting on and both parties will have failed the children they serve."
Just as teachers met Wednesday for a regular union meeting at Union - Pleasantville Elementary School, leaders of the Hamburg Teachers Association said they were at "an impasse" in negotiations with the district. But on Thursday, a union spokesman said they are working with NYSUT and the state education department to try to resolve the issue.
They are at risk of losing $450,000 dollars in state funding but the union claims the district was slow to start the discussions. Union leaders say they feel they will not have the time to work out an agreement that is acceptable and say that state education officials are trying to force one on them.
HTA spokesman Chris Cerrone says "The Hamburg Teachers Association was ready to go. Right in summertime..the beginning of the school year...ready to meet and the district was not willing to meet earlier in the school year. So negotiations dragged on quite late in the year. And that was part of the problem."
The union also claims an administrator threatened union members with the loss of their jobs if they voted no on the agreement. Some now say a remark may have been mis-interpretted by some union members.
When asked if the loss of funding could affect jobs as well, Cerrone said it is a minor amount in an overall $56 Million dollar budget for Hamburg Schools.
So far, Hamburg Superintendent Steven Achramovitch has not returned our calls for comment.
A source tells 2 On Your Side that Erie 1 BOCES Superintendent Donald Ogilvie has also been asked to step in to see if he can bring both sides together.