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North Syracuse approves contract with principals

— The North Syracuse Central School District voted to approve a contract with the North Syracuse Principals Association Wednesday night, clearing the final hurdle in its efforts to put in place a teacher evaluation system mandated by New York state.

The details of the contract were not immediately available, but the Star-Review has filed a Freedom of Information request for the document.

According to the New York State Department of Education, as of Dec. 31, the district had submitted a teacher evaluation plan for the department’s approval.

North Syracuse was the last district in Onondaga County to approve a teacher evaluation agreement, according to the New York State Department of Education. If the district failed to approve an agreement by Jan. 17, it stands to lose $4.7 million in state funding.

Last week, the district’s administration and the North Syracuse Education Association, the district’s teachers’ union, had accused the principals of holding that money hostage in an attempt to sweeten their contracts. The principals’ association fired back in a statement, alleging that the administration had put the teachers’ union negotiations — what it referred to as “a sweetheart deal’ — above all else, forcing the principals to wait six months to begin their contract negotiations.

“The district used the North Syracuse Education Association’s negotiations to dictate all of the other contract settlements in the district,” the statement said.

The statement also noted that principals in the district would take on a significant amount of work beyond what they had contractually agreed to — about 480 hours a year — to conduct the evaluations under the agreement reached with the NSEA.

“Unlike the teachers’ contract that is rich with opportunities for additional pay, such contractual provisions do not apply to the principals,” the statement read.

For more on the provisions of the contract as well as the teacher evaluation system in North Syracuse, check back with future editions of the Star-Review.

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