Absegami High School

Absegami High School 

File Photo

MAYS LANDING – The teachers union and the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District Board of Education continue to disagree on contract terms, with the latest meeting ending Monday, Nov. 7 with little movement on either side.

Myron Plotkin, a negotiator for the New Jersey Education Association, said Tuesday, Nov. 8 that the parties met for 2 1/2 hours, with only slight movement by the board. There are still many issues left to consider including salary, he said.

Joseph Betley, chief negotiator for the GEHR board, said Wednesday that the negotiations committee put a package on the table that would give certificated staff a 2.88 percent raise each year and support staff 3 percent each year over the five-year agreement.

The association refused to offer a counterproposal, he said.

“After considering their options, the board’s negotiations committee decided that in the absence of a counter proposal the process was stalled. The board’s negotiations committee shared this sentiment with the association and stated that it welcomes a counterproposal from the association that brings the parties closer to a resolution,” Betley said.

The parties are currently in superconciliation, and another meeting is scheduled Nov. 21 with the superconciliator, which is not binding.

The Greater Egg Harbor Education Association is the union that represents 435 teachers and staff in the three district high schools – Absegami, Oakcrest and Cedar Creek. Their contract expired in June 2015. 

Disagreements between the teachers union and the board forced Schools Superintendent John Keenan to close district schools for Election Day, after the union announced Friday, Nov. 4 that teachers would be taking the day off.

“We have been advised a significant number of teaching staff and other certificated staff of the Greater Egg Harbor Education Association (GEHREA) will be absent from work on Tuesday, Nov. 8 Election Day, exercising their statutory right to observe this public holiday,” Keenan said in a statement Friday.

President Stephanie Tarr and other members of the union have asked the GEHR school board to remove Keenan as superintendent, and at an Oct. 24 school board meeting at Cedar Creek High School they announced the union had passed a vote of no confidence in him.

The school board continues to support Keenan, and at the same meeting gave Keenan a vote of confidence.

New school dates were put on the calendar. Absegami and Cedar Creek will now be in session May 30, and Oakcrest will have school March 20, both days that had been previously scheduled as closed.

Tarr issued a statement Thursday, Nov. 3 stating that the decision by members of the association not to work Election Day is a sign of “frustration, anger, and low morale in the district.”

Email Madelaine Vitale at mvitale@catamaranmedia.com.

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