Concerned Citizens of Montclair Say BoE is Taking a Balanced Approach in Contract Negotiations with MEA

BY  |  Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 1:45pm  |  COMMENTS (7)

montclair board of education building(CCM correction: The BOE is proposing salary increases of 2.6%.  The MEA is looking for salary increases of 2.9%.  The State and County averages to date have been 2.4% and 2.0%, respectively.  The previous notice indicated the MEA was looking for a 3% increase.)

In an email sent out to subscribers, the group Concerned Citizens of Montclair (CCM) are discussing the current impasse of contract negotiations between the Montclair BoE and the MEA:

Dear CCM subscribers,

Details of the 2013 Municipal Budget are still in process and have not yet been made available to the public.  Upon receipt, a user friendly budget will be prepared and forwarded to you.

CCM is pleased to see the balanced approach being taken by Montclair’s Board of Education in the employee contract negotiations.  The BOE is looking for ways to support our schools’ great teachers with fair pay and benefits that recognized their hard work and dedication as well as looking for a sustainable cost structure that allows the district to provide an excellent and evolving learning environment without relying on endless tax increases.

Unfortunately, the negotiations between the BOE and the MEA have stalled. The students and their educational experiences are currently being negatively impacted. The most apparent sticking point in the negotiations seems to be the salary increases.  The BOE is proposing salary increases of 2.6%.  The MEA is looking for salary increases of 3.0%.  The State and County averages to date have been 2.4% and 2.0%, respectively.

We urge you to be fully informed on the details being shared and to forward your thoughts, support and feedback to help in moving this process forward. To learn more, information can be read on Barista Kids , Montclair Patch or in a press release issued by the BOE .

Please forward your comments, support and/or thoughts to the Board of Education Members at the following e-mail addresses.  Your comments can also be sent in letters to the editor or posting directly on the on-line news outlets for this very important matter.

Board of Education:

Although this is currently not under the jurisdiction of the Members of the Board of School Estimate, they can be reached at the following e-mail addresses:

CCM will encourage the Montclair Town Council and Township Manager to also use a balanced approach in developing the 2013 Montclair Municipal Budget.

7 Comments

  1. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  February 27, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

    Concerned Citizens of Montclair (CCM) are right to advocate for financial transparency on the part of the Town Council, for ending the spiraling property taxes, and for debt reduction. But when the Montclair Board of Education abandons its teachers at the negotiating table over marginal difference and then the School Superintendent proposes to commit the school budget to an additional 3/4′s of a million dollars per year for 7 positions that are not only not needed for, but even detrimental to, education, then something is very wrong.

    It is time for the BOE to truly “support our schools’ great teachers with fair pay and benefits that recognized their hard work and dedication.” Superintendent MacCormick’s commitment to core curriculum, standardized testing, and a padded administration with heavy-handed supervision has nothing to do with the child-centered education Montclair claims to promote.

    The CCM should have done its homework before claiming that the BOE is taking a “balanced approach” to the teachers and students in this town. It is noteworthy that the students who have spoken up have seen the “balanced approach” as coming from the teachers.

    Behind the BOE’s actions are the Mayor and the Town Council, as CCM rightly indicates. Handing this town over to developers does have a real cost in social services. Who would have thought that the first victim would be the students in our public schools.

  2. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 27, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    I started the Concerned Anonymous Poster of Baristanet (CAPoB). And I’m formally sending this out to all my “subscribers”: Don’t believe anything from any organization that hasn’t updated its website in a year, (and where the “About Us” link is suspiciously dead…).

    This must be stopped. Any well-educated Montclair kid can figure out how to update a website. If an organization is so “concerned,” maybe, just maybe, they might want to feature current information on its website.

    Or worse, perhaps this only shows something that many folks know about many folks in town: they LOVE to raise their voice, but then are often “too busy” to you know, follow up.

  3. POSTED BY commonsense  |  February 27, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

    “…and a definition of full time status at 20 hours per week. The MEA has also asked its members to refrain from supervising club activities or providing before or after-school help to students.

    Yet it’s “always been about the students”. Seems like the MEA has taken its negotiating tactic cues from Washington.

  4. POSTED BY toughbuttrue  |  February 27, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

    Everybody has condensed the issue to the salary increase and/or the definition of the full-time work, which I believe is also important as we, the taxpayers, will have take the burden; however if this is all about our kids then one item in the impasse sticks out an that is the scheduling:

    BoE: Eliminate consecutive period provision to allow for scheduling flexibility. School/Teacher schedules shall be determined by building level. The principal shall present a plan for discussion and consideration by staff, which shall require approval by 75 percent of staff for implementation.

    If I am not mistaken the current provision allows the administration to schedule not more than 3 consecutive periods to a teacher before he/she can take a break, and then continue scheduling until his/her max possible hours are reached for the day. The new language indicates that this rule is going to be lifted so that the administration can schedule more than 3 periods in a row so that scheduling will be easier for them. How would the quality of teaching be affected if this becomes the norm for most teachers? How would you expect the teachers to keep a quality in their teaching if they cannot even take a restroom break, and also adjust from switching from the mindset of one type of class to another ( the current provision states that teachers could be assigned up to 3 different preps[courses])? Please keep in mind that teachers are usually switching rooms from period to period, because of the logistic issues! If all is about our kids, we should pay more attention to the terms that will matter the most. A few percents here and there will be negotiated, I do not see a big difference between the offers from both sides. However, while the BOE is making this impasse look like a cheap bargain on the union side, they are making great changes in the background far from much attention, and the MEA seems to be focused on the same monetary issue too much. Either they will take $20-$100 more or less a month, but their life will be miserable, if they do not do something about the scheduling; they may be evaluated while they are teaching their 4th/5th period in a row at the end of the day. But for me this all translates into tired, unprepared, exhausted teachers and a poor education for my kids. I hope this nonsense (on behalf of both sides) is over soon! While both sides are acting like babies, our kids’ education is being jeopardized!

  5. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  February 28, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    toughbuttrue, you make some great points, especially your last part!!

    As I wrote on one of the other posts about this issue, reading the contract b’net linked to, the 20-hours does not refer to teachers, only Aides, Tech staff and security. The min. is 20 hrs, the max is 37.5. Anything below the max is prorated.

    So while reading this is might seem like everyone only has to work 20 hrs to be “full-time,” that’s not right.

  6. POSTED BY 4evrarunner  |  February 28, 2013 @ 6:44 pm

    CCM seems like a dark money group a la Karl Rove’s Super PAC’s or others funded by the Koch brothers. Here is the link to their site: http://gomeztooker.com/#

    Their news feed has articles that are anti-union, obsessing about the debt. They seem to have inserted themselves into many municipal debates such as their current one in which the Township Manager is calling for a 6% raise in the budget. CCM wants a 0% raise…this seems like an atempt to influence debate to reduce township public services. When CCM calls for a “balanced approach” it seems aimed to shut down debate between the MEA and BOE in an atempt to have the BOE win out fully in negotioins.

    Like @idratherbeat63 stated this CCM group is not to be trusted and dose not appear to be transparent. What is their true political motive??

    The points below off their web-site are earaly similar to many of the Conservitive/Tea Party talking points:

    ■The practice of fiscal restraint by our elected Montclair Township Council and the Township Manager

    ■A transparent municipal budget process

  7. POSTED BY blablabla  |  March 01, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    CCM is more or less the same motley group that hi-jacked all of the PTA mailing lists and had the highly embarrassing full page ad signed by only the influential power moms who control and manipulate most of the principals, assistant principals and administration to ensure their children have the best teachers and the first pick at whatever they want. Very corrupt and while some do contribute to bettering the schools, it is not without sending fear through the veins of those they dislike and promising good PR to those who curry their favor. Or you could sum it up to the closet Republicans in town who use that tony buzz word “independent” rather than “tea-partier.” Didn’t they also threaten other candidates while they invited everyone to their victory party? Afterwards, they made feeble threats demanding apologies from the New York Times and went on a vitriolic tirade bashing everyone they felt should be to blame for the rather humiliating loss when over 70% of the town voted against their power grab. Something the new Superintendent should keep in mind if she intends to have any meaningful career in this town would be to distance from those who have aggressively pursued more of the same. She would be better off cleaning administrative house than taking advice of those with historically bad records of discrimination and who have allowed certain individuals to dictate which teachers they will have and what classes will be given to certain children over the benefit of all the children as a whole. Administrators need to be held to task as well as teachers. The same power moms insulted the county PTA President and were never taken to task for all of the underhanded corruption that was made obvious within their ranks. Are they all so arrogant they think other people want to be like them or to associate with them? Why haven’t there been any real statistics on diversity at each school? Why do certain schools have a nearly all white population and the schools with huge achievement gaps are business as usual so long as the people who have the ear of those who make decisions do their bidding. If there is to be a good school system that is placed on the map there will need to be huge effort at cleaning house and keep in mind that this Superintendent is from the Chris Christie Union Breaking school of public education. Good thing or bad thing? You tell me.

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