Now former Bayonne Superintendent of Schools Patricia McGeehan received a performance bonus of about $26,600 and 116 teachers were rehired – with 59 non-tenured teachers remaining unemployed – during last night’s board of education meeting.
The merit goals award ordinance came after the board passed a resolution that effectively rehired 116 teaching staff members, five 12-month secretaries, and seven 10-month secretaries.
The board voted 8-1 for granting McGeehan a merit bonus, with Trustee Christopher Munoz the only one to vote against the ordinance – which grants McGeehan 14.9 percent of her base pay of $177,500, which comes out to $26,607.
“I’m sorry, we just lost 59 teachers this evening, that aren’t coming back, and I can’t in good conscious vote for anyone to get a merit bonus under this climate: so absolutely not,” said Munoz.
Michael Morris, resident of the city, had a reaction similar to Munoz.
“Patsy McGeehan left the school system in ruins. Teachers were laid off, 59 teachers are not coming back at this point, so there still hasn’t been a decision on their lives yet. I find it reprehensible that any of the board should vote for this,” said Morris.
On the contrary, Trustee Charles Ryan, while validating Munoz, he felt that his hands were tied by a legal contract that awards McGeehan as long as she adhered to written goals outline as superintendent.
“Trustee Munoz brings up a valid point. On the other hand, with the thoughts of my counsel, we have no choice. She made her goals and we have to vote ‘yes’ to that,” said Ryan.
“Well, I’m going to go with what the lawyers tell me so I have to vote yes.”
Last night also marked the first time veteran educator Michael Wanko served in the role as interim superintendent of schools, warning those on hand that the district would be operating with a “skeleton crew” when school resumes in September.