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What They Are Saying About Chris Christie and Education in New Jersey

March 26, 2010

Chris Christie

A press “round up” from Governor Christie’s Press Secretary, Michael Drewniak:       

As school boards prepare and present their budgets in these difficult times, we note that there are those places where teachers and school boards have constructively recognized the reality they confront.  Understandably, no one is pleased with absorbing such large cuts in their education aid.  But there are those districts that have chosen what is clearly the correct, reasonable and responsible path: forgoing raises to avert or at least minimize tax increases, layoffs of teachers and staff or program cuts.  In contrast, there’s what’s happening in the Bridgewater-Raritan School district, as reported today in the Star-Ledger. 

The school board asked the teacher’s union to forgo $403,000 in tuition reimbursements and reduce its scheduled 4 percent raise – not eliminate it, just reduce it – to 2.5 percent.  The answer from the union: Absolutely not.  The union instead will force the school board to go forward with a large staff reduction.  This is a stunning example of the will of the few – the leaders of a teacher’s union – overriding the larger public interest.  We find it remarkable that the local bargaining unit is so willing to sacrifice jobs of its own members, at a time when relatively little is being asked of them.

Bridgewater-Raritan Superintendent Volunteers Salary Freeze For Next Year

Stephen Stirling

The Star-Ledger

“This proposal gave the teacher’s union the opportunity to save over $3 million worth of teacher jobs in exchange for givebacks worth approximately $1.7 million,” Brookner said. “Unfortunately, the union’s leadership rejected this proposal, refusing to submit it to the full membership for a vote. Therefore, we are not anticipating any givebacks by the teacher’s union.”

West Essex Schools Get Wage Freeze Agreement From All Employees

Nic Corbett

For The Star-Ledger

Every person employed by the West Essex Regional School District has agreed to a wage freeze for the next school year to avert job losses and program cuts, the school board’s president announced Wednesday.  The last of the district’s four unions, representing primarily teachers, voted 133-7 to forgo any raises, said Joyce Candido.  “So we don’t have to lay anybody off,” Candido said. “We’re very, very excited about this.”  Most of the union contracts ended this year. But the unionized custodians, who had one year left in their contract, waived the 4-percent increases they had negotiated, Candido said. All non-union employees also agreed to the pay freeze.  “We didn’t look at this as a ‘we versus they,’” said the president of the teachers’ union, Tony Janish. “It wasn’t like we got one upper hand. We looked at it as a win-win for both sides.”  The teachers were granted some minor concessions, Janish said. They now will work one less day a year. They were granted four professional development workshops. They also are allowed to leave early after midterm and final exams, the same time as the students.

Good Move

The Montclair Times

During this year of economic turmoil, a majority of the members of the Montclair Education Association have approved forgoing a raise.  The union’s decision will save the Montclair School District about $900,000 and enable the district to retain some staff members slated for dismissal due to the insufficient budget.  In releasing the district from its multi-year contract, the MEA’s members and leadership exhibited awareness of Montclair residents’ economic plight and sensitivity to their colleagues who were slated to lose their jobs.  Also to be praised are those folks in the district’s Central Office who earn $75,000 and more. These employees have agreed to a pay freeze…Relinquishing raises guaranteed in a binding contract is almost unheard-of in the public sector. All New Jerseyans are in a new era, however, requiring new approaches to dealing with a shortage of revenue.

SOMA Board Of Ed Approves Austere Budget

Lois Desocio

New York Times – The Local

The South Orange and Maplewood Board of Education voted unanimously last night to approve Superintendent Brian Osborne’s proposed budget, just in time to meet today’s deadline for all school districts to submit their budgets to the county executive superintendent for approval…The budget includes no salary increases for staff or administrators, cutting of non-personnel items and, most controversially, moving school paraprofessionals off the personnel budget and contracting with an agency that will supply them to the district.

 Hoboken Board Of Education Approves Proposed Budget

Mark Maurer

The Jersey Journal

The Hoboken Board of Education voted unanimously 7-0 on Monday night in a special budget workshop to approve the proposed 2010-2011 school budget on a tentative basis…The budget, which is $57.9 million, kept the tax levy flat and didn’t cut programs…Rose Marie Markle, board president, said class size will stay the same unless enrollment increases, and there should be no teacher layoffs.

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