Teachers Urge District to Settle Contracts (Video)

Caldwell-West Caldwell contracts expire June 30.

With their contracts expiring at the end of the month, dozens of teachers from Caldwell-West Caldwell Schools attended Monday’s Board of Education meeting dressed in white shirts in a show of solidarity.

The Caldwell-West Caldwell School District is currently in contract negotiations with the Caldwell-West Caldwell Education Association (CWCEA), the union representing teachers in the district. The teachers’ three-year contracts expire on June 30.

During the public portion of the meeting, teachers Diana Reyes, Elizabeth Coogan-Russell and Mary Cofone—all residents of Caldwell and West Caldwell—took turns reading from a scroll a list of the many things teachers do they feel goes above and beyond their job descriptions, from planning and chaperoning field trips, writing recommendations, buying supplies for their classrooms with their own money, organizing and assisting with fundraisers and obtaining grants. The list contained items compiled from teachers throughout the district and took more than 10 minutes to read.

“As is evidenced by the presentation tonight and the list that was just read, the teachers of Caldwell-West Caldwell go well above and beyond their job descriptions to provide a quality education to the children of this district,” Coogan-Russell told the board of ed reading from a prepared statement on behalf of the CWCEA. “We are here tonight to show our support for our negotiating team and to urge the board to reach a timely resolution to contract negotiations before our contract expires.”

Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education President Maureen McNish said the board is “hopeful” an agreement will be reached by June 30.

“We have full confidence and faith in our negotiating team,” McNish said Wednesday. “I can’t say much more. We are anticipating a successful settlement.”

The next contract negotiation meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 18.

Board of Education members Paula Getty and Rosanne Hansen sit on the negotiating team.

WestCaldwellCitizen June 06, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Why do people always say the Board has to settle the contract??? All contract negotiations have two parties. I understand both parties (Teachers Union and BOE) have confidentiality clauses, so we do not truly know what the positions are...but a tremendous amount of taxpayers are going to be very upset if the raises are one penny above the 2% Cap. An settlement of 2%-2%-2% would be fair. The Teachers Union grandstanding does nothing to advance the ball in this situation. Stand firm BOE.
Carrie Nation June 06, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Just becasue there is a 2% cap on the amount a district can raise taxes doesn't mean that teacher salaries must to be capped at 2%. Teachers deserve a fair settlement and they are right to demand it. Go CWCEA!
Chris Wysocki June 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Dear CWCEA, Please review the events which transpired yesterday in Wisconsin. A careful examination will surely disabuse you of the illusion that public employee unions are popular and that the people will take your side in a dispute. Because having peaked behind the curtain we saw there was nothing, and no amount of bravado can conceal the fact that the days of unfettered union hegemony are over. Take your own advice, and "settle", before you too are handed an ignominious defeat.
CWCparent June 06, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Carrie I understand there is no formal relationship between the 2% cap and the probable settlement of 2%...however no districts are settling for anything above 2% and some are below (data available on NJSBA website). Take the 2% (if you can) and be thankful you.
Skippy June 08, 2012 at 01:18 PM
One of the charges against public employees like teachers is that they are overcompensated. Nothing could be farther from the truth. According to the Center for Economic Policy, public sector employees average 4% LESS than private sector employees who have comparable experience and training. CWC Parent claims that no district is settling for more than 2%. That is also not accurate. Neighboring districts have recently settled for more than 2%. It is in the interest of the entire community to supports the teachers' call for a fair contract. Our children's education should be our first priority. If Caldwell wants to attract the best teachers we need to pay competitive salaries. Better schools bring up property values.
wcmom June 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM
That's correct - 0%-0%-0% would be fair. Our properties are overtaxed! Wake up Caldwells!
Townie June 08, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I definately agree with Skippy. The number one reason families move to Caldwell or West Caldwell is the school system. (It is certainly not for the stop signs on Brookside or the mosquitos in the Gardens.) Ask your local Real Estate agent if you don't believe me. While you're at it, ask your local elected officials where we would be if our schools weren't so good. Ask someone who is trying to sell a house in a less desirable town. With so many terrific teachers retiring, you have to replace them with the best candidates out there, and you have to offer both new and veteran teachers competitive salaries and decent benefits if you want to maintain a high quality school system. Everyone knows these are tough times. I seriously doubt that the teachers are asking for a huge increase. I am sure that they are looking for a sign that they are respected for everything they do for your kid and mine.
wcmom June 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Teachers make enough, you can check the proof, 2010-2011 school year . http://php.app.com/edstaff/results2.php?pageNum_Recordset1=0&totalRows_Recordset1=247&county=ESSEX&district=CALDWELL-WEST+CALDWELL&school=%25&lname=&fname=&job1=%25&Submit=Submit . Please do not forget about local residents, taxpayers, who visit our local food pantry. Do you think they can afford higher property tax bill?
gregc June 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Very simple, if you don't like what you are doing it is time to move on and look for a different less commited job. Being a teacher is a commitment, a vocation, not a salary, and a job description.
Marley206 September 08, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I would like to point out that the first four salaries on the chart attached shows BOARD member salaries, not teaching salaries. A school psychologist, director *which is the highest position* of curriculum and instruction, a speech therapist, and the CHIEF school administrator/superintendent are the first salaries posted. Also, if you look further, a teacher who has worked 15 years makes 68 thousand. Fifteen years for 68. Also, it is important to look at the years teaching and degrees these teachers have. Teachers with masters degrees working for 30+ years do not deserve to make money in your opinion? I appreciate your comment but wanted to clarify for those who may have just read the comment without actually looking at the salary guide.
Marley206 September 08, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Also, some food for thought to go with the above comment... In a district close to Caldwell, that is also renowned for its school system and is the reason many families (including myself) have moved to the town is showing a NEW pattern in teaching. There are teachers retiring but now many teachers are resigning before their 10th year due to the poor salaries and overbearing/unreasonable expectations. Is this what we want to happen to education? To vilify educators and tell them that no matter how much education they receive, it does not mean they deserve anymore money? That mentality may work for other businesses but think about the quality of teachers your money is buying. The qualified and dedicated teachers are burnt out and can no longer financially afford to do their career. Fun fact... one of the teachers who left the district, now works at a car dealership part time making as much as he did with his teaching salary after 6 years, the other teacher left and is now a yoga instructor making 5 thousand more than she did as a teacher. What is the message we are sending, google some statistics from school districts that are struggling and notice the equation of the education/salary of those teachers in comparison to the well-known districts.


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