Pastor Luis Felipe Fernandez, Matthew Schapiro and Asmaa Abdalla, known as the Jersey City United Board of Education slate, introduced their teacher focused platform, their final platform plank before the November 8 election.
Tackling the problems with the teacher’s contract, Schapiro called the signing of the teacher’s contract 28 months overdue a “failure of leadership.”
He added that one of the goals of the team is to pass the teacher’s contract on time.
“We are the only slate pledging to do our very best to negotiate a fair contract with JCEA that will also lead to no teacher layoffs which disseminates the ranks of our newer teachers,” Schapiro said.
“We pledge to do everything that we can to work with all parties and pass the new teachers contract prior it’s expiry on August 2017.”
In order to financially protect the teachers, Abdalla explained how Jersey City United intends to work with the Jersey City Education Association to decrease salary steps so that educators do not have to wait 10 years to finally receive a raise.
The team would also like to decrease the out of pocket expenses the teacher’s face such as parking.
According to the National Educational System, Jersey City teachers spend an average of $1.3 million, or $500 per teacher, on annual out of pocket expenses for their classrooms.
Fernandez pointed to the empty lot across from Public School No. 3, located near the intersection of Varick and Bright Streets, as well as the lot at Old Colony Square Center as examples of how the team intends to work with City Hall to find a places where teachers can park their cars.
Another way to financially protect the teachers is to implement the “highest form of ethical standards” within the board to avoid cronyism and nepotism so that “money goes to teachers and not political allies of board members,” declared Fernandez.
During the press conference, Abdalla also stated that there is an “estimated $200 million in abatement dollars that Jersey City receives which does not go to the schools.” The team intends to lobby and change state laws so development dollars will instead support the district.
Schapiro concluded the press conference by calling Gov. Chris Christie’s potential defunding of schools “the biggest threat to our teachers and students,”
“His toxic rhetoric toward our teachers has no place in our society. His toxic plan to defund our schools would set Jersey City back by a generation. No matter our differences here, we should unite to fight Chris Christie,” stated Schapiro.
There are a total of 10 candidates seeking three, three-year term seats on November 8.