Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis is urging the city’s board of education to finalize a new teachers’ contract, claiming that the current school budget has enough money to cover salary increases for teachers.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“As you are aware, the teachers’ contract with the Bayonne Board of Education expired in July,” Davis wrote in a November 30 letter sent to William Lawson, the Bayonne BOE president.
“Although both sides have met on several occasions to negotiate a new contract, I have been advised that no agreement has been reached by the parties. I understand first hand the need to balance the requests of the teachers while respecting the taxpayer.”
However, Davis goes on to say that based on his discussions with the board, the current school budget already “contains appropriations sufficient to cover salary increases.”
The mayor goes on to request that the BOE pass a resolution that would approve a new retroactive contract agreement that would be effective July 1, 2015.
“While I am aware there is no obligation on the Board to honor this request, and that the union must agree to move, I am confident that this act would go a long way in demonstrating our commitment to the education of our children and restore some of the faith that was lost during prior negotiations.”
A copy of the letter can be read here.
While Lawson could not immediately be reached for comment, he addressed the situation at the most recent Bayonne Board of Education meeting on November 24 – where the board approved a corrective action plan in response to the State Department of Education’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance.
Ava Finnerty and Christoper Munoz, two of the three BOE trustee-elects who were endorsed by the teachers union, both got up during the public portion of the meeting asking for the contract to be settled as soon as possible.
Finnerty said it would be only fair to settle the contract before five new trustees are sworn in next year, while Munoz took exception to the fact that administrators were still being hired while the contract remains in limbo.
After Finnerty addressed the board, Lawson responded:
“I don’t think a day goes by that I’m not in discussion with our negotiating team, and discussing the issue at hand. So, it certainly is this board’s determination to get the teachers their salary increases and get a fair, equitable contract for everybody concerned,” also mentioning that negotiations have a lot of moving parts.
A video clip of the exchange can be watched here: