Hoboken BoE: The best deal in town
Public speaks about teachers contract
Since some people like the “he said, she said” type of report rather than just the actual outcome of an event – here’s a brief video for you to watch.
I took various snippits of what some residents were saying against the teachers contract – and others who were in favor of it. More to come on this later!
Teachers contract passes; Romano resigns
A quick update: A packed house of 300 were in attendance tonight. The meeting started with the resignation of County Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano, who felt it was best not to hold dual positions. And after public debate about the teachers contract, the board voted to approve it 4-3. Video and more about the meeting later…
Read previous updates after the jump…
The Hoboken Board of Education meeting is 7pm tonight at Wallace School (in the Gymnasium).
Why such tension about the BoE lately?
For starters, we have the teachers contract, which will bring a huge number of passionate union people who are strongly in favor of it – and partly the reason why the meeting has been relocated to the gymnasium.
Additionally, the HoLa program, while not specifically on the agenda – will come up in public discussion. Many parents will be on hand, some who really want to see this program implemented, and believe that it will be good for Hoboken in the long run. While others are concerned with how the decision seems to be rushed through the system too quickly. Lastly, members of the “Hoboken Revolt” group will also be in attendance, concerned with the overall “tax & spend” situation in Hoboken.
As an alternative to watching TV tonight, you might want to check this meeting out – it’s expected to be one heck of a show!
Here’s the agenda for you to review if you haven’t seen it.
More on HoLa here, and see what’s going on with the teachers contract below..
Instead of creating a new thread for tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting, I decided it was best to “bump” this one from October 2008 because…
School Board meets again TONIGHT
The Board of Education meets again tonight, where they will be sure to revisit the rich teachers union contract that failed in a 4-4-1 vote at the last meeting. Watch for more old-school histrionics from union president Gary Enrico, like this video from the last meeting:
Read all about that meeting in this submission from Maureen Sullivan:
Tonight’s meeting begins at 7pm in the cramped, windowless Wallace School basement bunker they call a meeting room (11th and Clinton).
Claustrophobic individuals need not apply.
Bennies ‘R’ Us
The school board unexpectedly failed to approve a new three-year contract with the teachers union last week when the vote lost 4-4. Since then the union has leaned on its members to leave school as soon as the official day ends and threatened other “job actions” if the board doesn’t come to an agreement soon. Union membership is not mandatory, but those who don’t join still are charged 85% of the dues.
The school board and the union–which is an affiliate of the National Education Association–are not releasing details of the new contract. (The teachers continue to work under the old one, which expired June 30.) They say the contract cannot be made public until the board approves it. Many lawyers, however, dispute that interpretation and say anything voted on by a public body is a public document.
Nevertheless, some details have been circulating. The board agreed to give the teachers a 5.7% increase and the clerks a double-digit raise–well above the inflation rate, raises in other teacher contracts around the state this year, and the 4% state cap on budgets. At last week’s meeting, board members hailed a 30-minute increase in the length of the school day, though it was not outlined whether this was an increase in instructional time or “student contact time,” such as adding recess to the day. There is also talk that teachers would now be charged a modest co-pay for prescriptions.
Since the new contract is unavailable, the old contract is a good guide to what the teachers will get. Much of it is standard boilerplate dating back decades, and some of it is more generous than other districts’ contracts.
- Here is the 2005-2008 contract. (PDF)
- Here is the contract from 1971-72 (Link to PDF)
- And this is the contract for the Paramus schools
It’s interesting that Gary Enrico, the head of the Hoboken union, helped negotiate the much less-generous Paramus contract in his capacity as president of the school board there. He lost his seat in the 2007 election.
What do they get?
Here are the highlights of the bennies in the old contract:
- Holidays: One week in November (including two days for the annual union convention) and February and for Christmas and Easter, plus the entire summer, as well as all other federal and state holidays. Overall, teachers are scheduled to work 184 days a year. (A typical professional in the private sector is probably working 220-240 days a year.)
- Daily Schedule: Grade school teachers are scheduled to work six hours and 15 minutes a day; high school teachers go 10 minutes longer. (It should be noted that many teachers freely work past that time.)
- Personal Days: They can take two of those 184 school days off for any reason, requiring the principal to hire a substitute or pay other teachers extra to cover the kids added to their classes for the day.
- Sick Leave: 10 days a year to start and up to 20 days after 20 years. Most of the unused days may be accumulated and paid out at the end of the year or at retirement.
- Short days: There are five days when the day ends early and they can go home at 1 p.m.
- Weddings: Any teacher getting married is given four extra days off.
- Death of a family member, including brothers-in-law and sisters-in law: 7 days off (in-laws not included in Paramus)
- Sabbatical: Half pay for six or 12 months after seven years of employment; up to six teachers may be on sabbatical at any one time. (only one teacher at a time in Paramus)
- Maternity/child care leave: Up to four consecutive years without pay.
- Bonus: Teachers get $200 each semester for “perfect attendance” (bereavement, personal and court days are excluded). An extra $100 for coming to work all year. ($600 total for clerks and bus drivers). (Paramus doesn’t offer this “incentive.”) An incentive for students to come to school every day ended last year at Wallace when the school eliminated the perfect attendance pins (not cash!) at its annual Honors Assembly.
- Insurance: Teachers get complete family insurance coverage–including basic medical and hospitalization, major medical, dental, optical and prescription coverage–without having to pay any deductibles, co-pays or premiums. This free benefit continues for life after they retire. (Paramus contract says retirees must pay the full cost of their health benefits.)
The school board meets again on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the contract is expected to come up for another vote. The union will get most of its membership out to push for approval. “We must, I repeat, we must stand together as one!!!!” Enrico told his membership in a letter this week.
Anyone who thinks the taxpayers need to stand together should also come out and voice their opinion.