For the second month in a row, West New York teachers stormed the board of education meeting to demand a new contract – though they would’ve been silenced until the late hours of the night if not for the quick thinking of Trustee Matthew Cheng.
After a two-and-a-half hour award ceremony to recognize the teachers of the year in each school of the district, the board voted down (3-4) a measure introduced by renegade Trustee Matthew Cheng to open the floor for public comment.
This left the members of the West New York Education Association irate, prompting Cheng and fellow trustees Lorena Portillo and Steven Rodas (who all voted no) to threaten to walk out – rather than go to closed session and leave the teachers waiting.
In the event that the three board members would’ve walked out, their would no longer be a quorum and the meeting would have effectively ended on the spot.
Therefore, the previous motion was rescinded and the board unanimously voted to open the floor to public comment.
Anita Kober, the president of the WNYEA, had some visuals to drive her points home for the board. While over a dozen teachers addressed the board, West New York parents punctuated the frustration in the room by explaining their children’s struggles within the school district.
The board did not take any action on the teachers’ contract and the only response the public received was when Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera said she has nothing to do with contract negotiations.