West New York teachers stormed the board of education meeting last night to take the mic and demand a new contract, which they’ve been without since July 2015.
“I stand before you to address the situation we now face trying to move forward with negotiation of our contract, no money, that is what we are hearing,” stated West New York Education Association President Anita Kober.
“No money, but new titles are created and salaries for certain individuals are increased and new carpeting is laid: no money. At this time three years ago, you were asked to prepare a budget up to the cap and you did not, two years ago we stood here and said the same thing and again you did not.”
“Last year we strongly urged you to prepare a budget for the current school year up to the cap, and possibly more, again, this request fell on deaf ears.”
Kober also expressed disdain over the fact that the teacher’s take home pay is less today than it was five years ago, forcing many to pick up second and third jobs – all because of improper budgeting.
Additionally, Memorial High School shop teacher Ron Grosinger stressed that the decision on the contract will inevitably trickle down to the students.
“When teachers are pinching pennies to pay the rent the pressure is on, I’ve got two other jobs. I work at the college and I work for myself as well, and I’ve got to tell you it’s a lot of pressure and the pressure regardless of how mature or how you can keep it together.”
“If the pressure is on the adult it’s going to go to the kids so anything that the Board of Ed decides it’s going to trickle down.”
One West New York resident, Boris Gresely, also a former BOE candidate, felt the need to voice his concerns to out of respect for the teachers that guided him through his educational path, stating they deserve fair salaries.
Gresely also called out Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera for recently fighting to increase her own salary.
“It’s just appalling to know that this issue has been going on for five years, it’s not just a one-year thing,“ Gresely said.
“… Superintendent, I know for a fact, it was reported on New Jersey, on NewJersey.com, that you were fighting about your salary increase and at the end of the day, at the end of the day, you have teachers who are educated like crazy and they don’t get a salary boost?”
Hudson County View first reported in November that Herrera asked the State Department of Education to rule on whether or not a tenured assistant superintendent can have her salary reduced upon promotion.
There was no formal action taken by the board last evening as their was no agenda item regarding the West New York Education Association’s contract.