The city and teachers union still have not reached an agreement on how to overhaul more than 30 struggling schools. But city school officials said that, deal or no deal, they will announce those plans at the end of this week.
Though the original due-date for submitting school improvement plans was today, state education officials granted the city's request to postpone the deadline to Friday. That leaves the city and teachers union four days to reach an agreement on which of three federal improvement strategies each of the schools should undergo.
Of the 43 schools that are eligible for school improvement grants, but have yet to begin using them, 31 are waiting to be told if they’ll be transformation, turnaround, or restart schools. Under each of these three plans being considered, schools would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money.
A spokesman for the city's Department of Education, Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, said that the city had asked for an extension in part to have more time to negotiate with the union.
Last week, union officials said they were hopeful a deal would be reached by today, but that has not happened.
Days before the deadline to decide how it plans to overhaul low-performing schools, the city is considering going in a new direction.
Over the last year that the city has been deciding which of four federally mandated school improvement strategies to use in these schools, it has only publicly discussed two plans: transformation and turnaround. Both of them call for major changes in school personnel and how schools use time, meaning that both of them have to be negotiated with the teachers union.
But with the deadline for the city to submit its proposal only four days away, and the city yet to reach a deal with the teachers union, the Department of Education is considering a third option.
Known as the "restart" model, the plan involves closing a school and reopening it under new management — either as a charter school or as a district school run by a school management organization (for example, New Visions). Because this plan does not require the city to fire teachers or principals, it can be used without the union's cooperation.
"We would obviously love an agreement on those two models [transformation and turnaround], but we felt we had to cover our bases and be prepared to do restart," said DOE spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.