With teachers’ contract still unsettled, Bayonne BOE rejects $129M budget

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With no resolution in sight for a teachers’ contract, the Bayonne Board of Education rejected a proposed $129 million school budget that would’ve come with a 2.78 percent tax increase.

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“The superintendent mentioned how great we’re doing as a district and how far we exceed all the other places in the state, but you’re doing it on the backs of the teachers: giving them absolutely no money,” Bayonne Teachers Association President Alan D’Angelo told the board.

The BTA has been without a contract since July 1st and D’Angelo began pressing the issue late last year, claiming that “everything goes through City Hall” in Bayonne at a December protest – a claim Mayor Jimmy Davis’ office denied.

” … So either the board reexamines this and gives me what I asked for and have somebody explain what that amount of money means in the overall budget. Because if I could have someone explain it to you in the right way, it’s an insignificant amount of money. It is not a large amount of money by any standard.”

” … It’s a tale of two cities: it’s the teachers and the staff and the administration and the insiders, friends and family, as it’s called,” D’Angelo said.

Dr. Andrea Ressetar, another teacher in the district, also questioned how the board could afford to spend more money on electives, in turn requiring more teachers, if the teachers’ contract remains up in the air.

When it came time to vote, the board ended in a 4-4 tie: Trustees Carol Cruden, Ava Finnerty, Barry Kushnir and Christopher Munoz voted no, while Board President Joseph Broderick, Board V.P. Denis Wilbeck and Trustees Mikel Lawandy and Theodore Garelick voted yes.

Trustee Marry Jane Desmond was absent from the meeting.

The meeting was quite similar, minus the chaos, to the West New York Board of Education voting down a $136 million budget last week as they remain embroiled in a battle with their teachers association.

 

Chief News Correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report.