Monday, June 11, 2012
Dramatic end to two-year stalemate just hours after fact-finder's report emailed.
In a stunning two-step move, the Warren Township Board of Education and Warren Township Education Association agreed Monday to accept the recommendations of the state-appointed fact finder. Specifics terms of the recommendation have not been released, pending notification of the WTEA membership. The report was received after noon Monday by board members, board of education President Gregory Przybylski said at the board's meeting at the middle school, and the board called a 15-minute executive session to discuss the report. "The board of education is prepared to accept the fact finder's recommendation...and is prepared to present that as a contract offer to the teachers and the associated groups," Dr. Przybylski said after the closed …
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Union response to Wednesday's statement notes word of fact finder's report may be forthcoming.
After the statement issued Wednesday by the Warren Township Board of Education, Warren Township Educaiton Association President Fran Blabolil issued the following statement: "We are pleased with the Board’s new, positive tone and find it an encouraging sign that they are ready and willing to accept the fact finder's report once it is made available. Unfortunately, the statement makes several assertions that concern us—especially since it continues to fail to acknowledge the continual lack of respect the Board has shown the WTEA throughout this three-year process—but we choose to defer any additional comment until after the fact finding report is available, which we understand should be no later than this Friday. Until then, we are pleased…
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Watchung Hills Regional Education Association members and school board will weigh-in on terms next.
The agreement reached by negotiators for the Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education and the school's education association setting contract terms for the 2011-14 school years is pending approval by the WHREA membership and a vote by the school board. The settlement follows more than a year of intensive—and at times, acrimonious—negotiations, which began before the expiration of the last contract on June 30, 2011. The talks were complicated by 2011's benefits reform by the state, and led to the institution of "work to rule" hours by teachers, limiting after-school access for students. "We hope to have a ratification vote soon, although there are some procedural matters before that can happen," WHREA President Sean DiGiovanna said. Among…
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Board issues statement; agreement subject to WHREA membership vote.
The Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education issued the following statement this afternoon: "After more than one year of negotiations regarding contract renewals, the Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education (Board) and the Watchung Hills Regional Education Association (WHREA) have mutually reached a Memorandum of Agreement. "The agreement is between the board and the three bargaining units of the WHREA; (1)Teachers, (2)Secretaries, Aides and Technicians and (3)Custodians, Maintenance and Bus Drivers and is effective through the 2013-2014 school year. "This agreement requires ratification by the membership of the WHREA and the Board and is expected to take place soon. Details of thesettlement will not be released until such time." …
Monday, May 14, 2012
Township school negotiators meeting, while still waiting for fact finder's report.
March 19—the date negotiators working on a new teachers contract expected a report from the state fact finder—came and went with no word from the fact finder. In recent weeks, the negotiators have held more meetings and while an agreement on salaries and benefits has not been reached, some progress has been made. "I would say they are closer than ever," Superintendent Tami Crader said. According to Dr. Crader and Warren Township Education Association President Fran Blabolil, the negotiating teams have met "a couple of times" in recent weeks. The talks in recent weeks ended a period of waiting for the fact finder's report, which some had hoped would help bring about an end to the protracted negotiations. Although the report is not binding …
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
It seems many districts are waiting for reports from fact finders, as negotiations drag on.
As teacher contract negotiations continue for both the Warren Township School District and Watchung Hills Regional, here's a summary of what's happening in other districts: Washington Township, in Gloucester County, has been mired in negotiations for more than two years, and teachers there instituted a "work to rule" limit on hours about six months ago (similar to actions taken by Watchung Hills teachers last month). According to an April 6 article in the Washington Township Times, teachers have ended the effort because it accomplished its goal of highlighting "the extensive amount of extra volunteer time teachers put into their jobs that goes unnoticed," Camy Kobylinski, the township's education association president, said. Like the …
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Some issues may have parallels in local negotiations.
As township school officials and teachers await word from a state-appointed fact finder, and high school negotiators prepare for a second meeting with a mediator next week, their counterparts in nearby districts are also mired in talks. The Bridgewater-Raritan school district, which operates all schools in Bridgewater and Raritan, has also been in protracted negotiations with its education association. And unlike Warren and Watchung Regional negotiators, the board of education and association representatives have been public about some of the details separating negotiators—which may be instructive for local residents following the talks. Although there are many issues besides salary ranges at stake in all of the districts, salary cuts to …
Friday, March 30, 2012
Tension is high ahead of next week's break—maybe a 'time out' won't be a bad thing.
The shortened spring break starts Monday at Watchung Hills Regional High School, and along with students enjoying a break from the school pressures will be negotiators working on the teacher contracts. "We have not been approached by the board or mediator to meet during spring break," WHREA President Sean DiGiovanna said, Thursday. There's certainly the possibility a meeting will still occur, but perhaps a little time without the daily pressures will help advance negotiations ahead of the scheduled meeting April 12. Tell us what you think—take our poll and add your comments in the space below.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Some say they're caught in the middle—we want to hear from students.
In response to last week's call for teachers to work to rule, and this week's effort by administrators to fill in the void, we want to hear from students: Are you getting the help you need? Parents have express their concerns, and teachers and board officials have pledged not to let the current contract negotiations impact students, but we would like to hear more from the students. Take the poll and tell us if things are working for you this week, if you've been able to get the help you need, whether from a teacher or an administrator.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Watchung Hills Board of Ed says its 'committed to resolving the contract issue.'
The Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education assured students and parents frustrated over stalled contract negotiations between the board and the Watchung Hills Regional Education Association that it is “committed to resolving the contract issue as soon as we can.” Board member Peter Fallon told attendees at Tuesday night’s special budget hearing that a meeting with the state mediator is scheduled for April 12. In the meantime, the board continues to be in contact with the impasse mediator, he added. “Our hope is that we will make some progress even before April 12. We aren’t just standing back and trying to ignore things. We are trying to make some progress even before this meeting,” Fallon stressed. Several members of the audience …