Oysterponds only L.I. school district to miss teacher evaluation deadline

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | In a 2010 photo, Oysterponds teacher Jenny Schoenstein helps a kindergartner with a writing exercise.

Officials have confirmed the Oysterponds school district in Orient, one of the smallest schools in the state, is the only district on Long Island that failed to have its teacher evaluation plan approved by Thursday’s deadline.

The Oysterponds school district, which as of September has about 85 students enrolled in its pre-kindergarten through sixth grade program and sends its 88 secondary students to Greenport, is expected to lose some state aid as a result of not having an approved-plan in place.

It is unclear how much money Oysterponds will lose. State and Oysterponds school officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

Superintendent Dick Malone had said the district filed its annual professional performance reviews plan, known as APPR, to the state for final approval Thursday morning at 11:05 a.m.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Mr. Malone said that after he submitted the plan, the state sent it back to him for corrections at around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“We moved on this as quickly as we could,” Mr. Malone said. “I worked on it and sent it back just before midnight…I don’t know what the status is at this point.”

The reason why the district filed late, Mr. Malone has said, is because the school is still in contract negotiations with its teachers. Oysterponds employs about 17 teachers.

The Oysterponds school board has been ironing out a new teacher’s contract to replace the agreement that expired June 30, 2011. Since the school board and teacher’s union have reached an impasse, officials said the matter is being mediated through the state’s Public Employment Relations Board.

Mr. Malone has said the school board ultimately decided to separate the APPR plan from the teacher’s contract in order to meet the state-imposed teacher evaluation deadline.

School board member Linda Goldsmith said Friday that although she hadn’t been informed about the official reason why the state didn’t approve the school’s plan, she believed it could have been because a deal on the teachers’ contract hasn’t been reached.

In addition, she said she believes a transition period during a recent change in administration also attributed to the district missing the state’s deadline. Mr. Malone was hired as the district’s new part-time superintendent in July after Joan Frisicano resigned.

“There was a lot of work to do during the transition and somehow it all just didn’t get done,” she said. “I don’t think we were neglectful. I think we just had changes in administration and there were a lot of leftover things to do.”

The other major leftover business, Ms. Goldsmith said, is the Oysterponds five-year secondary school tuition contract with Greenport schools. Both schools are in the process of finalizing a deal that will ultimately be placed before the East Marion and Orient residents for approval.

All other North Fork school districts met Thursday’s deadline. Click on the links below to view each report. Read more about this story on Jan. 24 in The Suffolk Times or on our E-Paper.

New Suffolk Comm. SD, approved Jan. 14, 2013

Southold UFSD, approved Dec. 26, 2012

Greenport UFSD approved Dec. 12, 2012

Mattituck-Cutchogue UFSD, approved Dec. 11, 2012

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