Provisions included in the New York state budget should speed up teacher-discipline hearings and bring down costs. The changes will limit the pay of the hearing officers who decide the cases and force both sides to shorten the process.
Though extremely rare, hearings required to fire a public school teacher in New York are slow and expensive. The average “3020-a” hearing takes 502 days and costs $216,588. The state fund that pays for the process is almost $10 million in debt, and it takes more than a year to pay the arbitrators who hear the cases.
The state department of education can now set the rates for hearing arbitrators, who make up to $1,800 for a five-hour day. Hearing officers who fail to meet deadlines can be disqualified, and the number of study days for which they are paid is now limited.
A version of this article appeared in the April 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as N.Y. Budget Rules Speed Teacher Cases