Bayonne Board of Education trustee Chris Piechocki disagreed with hiring new personnel for the school district last night, preferring to wait until after teachers get their contract.
“I truly feel that after speaking to community members and teachers, that until the teachers do get a contract that I cannot say yes to ant another solutions that will be created to appoint new teachers or any staff members to the district.”
The resolution listed about 37 names for both per diem and new positions who were approved after a criminal history background check was performed.
Although most of the positions are on the lower range in salary, Piechocki argued that “over time, these salaries will become a lot for the district.”
At first Piechocki, seemed to have agreed with the resolution after voting in favor, but then asked the board to rescind his vote and reconsider the resolution when he realized he was looking at a different item on the agenda when initially casting his vote.
“ I was on the wrong resolution when I was speaking about the vacancies which is actually number 58,” clarified Piechocki.
He was in favor of this resolution because the funding was already set aside for these vacancies.
While voting, he addressed his concern for the current teachers of the district.
“I really feel like the teachers in the schools are repressed, the climate in the school and moral is bad and that affects the students. And I believe that happy teachers create happy students and productive students and I vote absolutely no.”
Bayonne Board of Education President William Lawson commented that there is a “lack of understanding of what this resolution is.”
Lawson explained that these positions are for substitute teachers, teachers who will be called upon when permanent teachers are sick or have time off, as well as food service workers who may need to be replaced after background reviews.
Most of these teachers will only get called upon on an “as needed basis.”
“We certainly worked through [and] the finance committee discussed this long and hard. We understand the situation as it relates to the present staff. I really want people to understand what the whole process is. This is not something that is coming out of our staff’s pockets.”
Piechocki argued that he understands that there is a need for substitutes, but on the resolution, some of the positions are permanent and some positions are per diem, so that’s why he voted against it.
“Anything permanent, I just couldn’t agree to,” he concluded
The resolution passed 5-1, with Board Trustees Raymond Greaves, Theodore Garelick and Vice President Ava Mitchell absent.
Piechocki is seeking re-election in the November 3 BOE race, with his now four-person Kids First slate (Nancy Solis withdrew from the race) notching the endorsement of Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis.