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Mineola School District Adopts APPR Plan

Teacher contract negotiations still ongoing

The Mineola School District adopted its Annual Professional Performance Review Plan (APPR) last week. The APPR has been the subject of much scrutiny and is still in its infancy of being utilized across New York State.

The state requires that every school district and BOCES negotiate and adopt an annual review plan that evaluates teachers and principals. District Superintendent Michael Nagler said it has to be negotiated in “good faith” and all parties have to sign off on a plan and submit their review through an online portal dubbed the “Review Room.”

Under the new APPR plan, 60 percent of teacher ratings would be based on classroom observations, 20 percent on students’ scores on state standardized tests, and 20 percent on a list of three scoring options. That could include locally developed tests, tests offered by third parties or a simple doubling of the value placed on the state tests. School boards would have to negotiate the final 20 percent with their local unions.

Any school district that does not implement the new APPR by January 2013 will be forced to forgo its share of an $805 million increase in school aid planned for this year. Had Mineola not adopted a plan by January, Nagler estimated the district would have lost about $50,000 in state aid. Calls to the state education department were not returned.

“In the event that it is not negotiated, districts are allowed to impose their own plan,” Nagler said. “It still must be negotiated over time. In the interim of the negotiations that are occurring, we must still comply with the law and have a plan on file. This resolution is imposing an APPR that we will follow until it’s negotiated with the teachers.”

School district principals have come to an agreement on APPR, Nagler revealed. The plan was unanimously passed, sans Trustee Terence Hale, who was absent from the meeting for undisclosed reasons. The district is still in talks with the Mineola Teachers Association (MTA).

“Attached to [the APPR] are state monies,” Nagler stated. “Mineola did apply for a management efficiency grant. There are extra points allotted if a plan is submitted and approved by Sept. 1.”

The district and the MTA have held seven meetings since the April 17 meeting, reported first by the Mineola American. The district’s impartial mediator, Howard Edelman has dealt with numerous contract squabbles, including deliberations for the Freeport School District and Hewlett-Woodmere School District. He did not return calls seeking comment.

“We’re making incremental progress,” noted Nagler. The district and the MTA are scheduled to meet next on Aug. 23.

“We have declared an impasse on the custodians and the aides,” Nagler revealed. “We have been assigned a mediator and have tentative [meeting dates] in September. Concerning clerical staff, we have not established a mediator yet. I began preliminary talks with administrators. This is the first time we came to the table. We’re not at an impasse yet with them.”

The 275-member MTA has operated without a contract since June 30, 2011. While there are no salary increases when a district has no agreement in place with a union, Mineola still has to pay STEP increases, according to the Triborough Amendment in the Taylor Law, which prohibits a public employer from altering any provision of an expired labor agreement until a new agreement is reached.

“It sounds like the principals to a point, have agreed to what’s been submitted or what’s being submitted,” Board President William Hornberger said. The MTA reviewed the APPR plan on July 18.

School districts like West Hempstead, after a two-year contract battle, agreed to no STEP increase until 2013 last May. Nagler did not indicate if Mineola would take a similar approach. MTA President Teresa Perrotta Hafner did not return calls for comment.

The previous agreement in Mineola called for a 3.5 percent raise each year for the duration of that contract, with STEP increases between 1.5 to 2 percent. Teachers contributed approximately 15 percent to medical benefit costs.

News

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


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