The Board of Ed public meeting on October 30th turned into a sea of red with over 200 GR teachers, supplemental staff , and residents came to show support of the teaches and staff who are “Still Working without a contract” as some of the signs said.
The first public comment section was moved to the top of the agenda to allow students, staff and others show support and ask questions. The First speaker was the Glen Rock Education Association (GREA) president, Carlo Santaniello. He opened up his statement talking about how this is a “loss” for both parties and then continued to talk about how the GR BOE put out a statement with inaccuracies in it. A main example of this is the BOE statement “At this time the teachers continue to receive their full salary and benefits”. Per Santaniello, the teachers did not receive their first increment in their first paycheck back to school on 9/15/2018. Per NJ legislation, increments can be given during contract negotiations. The BOE refused to give them, due to this they now have a PERC (Public Employment Relations Commission) hearing on November 27, 2018. Per GREA, this plus the BOE not willing to negotiate without representation shows that the BOE does not want to negotiate in good faith.. You can hear his whole speech on our FB group.
BOE VIce President Sharon Scarpelli talked briefly on the negotiations between the GREA and the BOE. Per Scarpelli, the GREA called an impasse with the negotiations on July 21, 2018. This then put the negotiations into mediation with a PERC moderator, who would talk to each side to work through to a resolution. This meeting was held on July 31 continuing until 2 am August 1st. Scarpelli then went on to say they had thought they had an agreement with the GREA at that time. This was not the case and fact-finding (mediator’s report of a failure to resolve the impasse by mediation, the Director of Conciliation may invoke fact- finding with recommendations for settlement and appoint a fact-finder). This meeting will be held on November 5, 2018. Ms. Scarpelli then went on to say that they hope to come to an agreement on Monday and will continue to negotiate in good faith. The BOE wants a fair contract for the teachers, the students and the community. The complete video is also found on our FB group.
Mr. Santaniello responded to Ms. Scarpelli later in the evening stating that they thought that this year would be different than past negotiations due to some buzz words that indicated they would not go with an attorney, but then showed up at the table with one. He also stated that the offers that they received were insulting. The offer was a 2.5% pay raise with no chapter 78 relief. In addition, at the July 31 – Aug 1 meeting, the BOE asked the GREA to change their health care plan to a reduced insurance plan. “We are tired of giving things up!”, Santaniello stated. He continued to say, ” There is a sign out side that states we are a blue ribbon school. Best students, Best staff, best school. It is missing one other B. below Average pay.” The full video is in our FB group.
Cat Merkle, Senior Class president, took advantage of before school help due to schedule last year. She is in 5 AP classes and this year is struggling a bit due to not being able to get extra help. As a National honor pear to peer tutor, last year she only tutored one – two students. This year she has had about 3 calls from teacher, parents and students per day asking for tutoring. “That has to tell you something. If they’re not getting the extra help and they have to come to a peer tutor. Before they did not have too because they had their teachers there. This shows you how much these teachers do for us and how much they help us… They should be able to go to their teachers before school, during lunch or options.” The full video is in our FB group
BOE candidate Alisa Svider also had a question for the BOE “We are acknowledging the blue ribbon – why aren’t we acknowledging the teachers?” She went on to recognize that Glen Rock is a Blue ribbon school and #2 because of the teachers.
The evening ended with Kathleen Walters, AP History Teacher at GRHS. She talked not only about her successes at GRHS but also the fact that her take home pay has not budged over the past 12 years. She stated that she has not earned more than $100. This is because they contribute more now for health benefits under Chris Christie’s chapter 78 and didn’t actually see increased take-home pay. Ms. Walters asked, “I have upheld my agreement, why should I continue my review sessions in the evening for my students? That is my question to you.”
All videos of the speakers can be found on our FB group.