Disclosure: I am the spouse of a Berkeley Heights teacher, who also currently sits on the BHEA negotiating team. I do not hold any opinion on how the salary guide should be constructed, rather, I support the BHEA and the NJEA making the decisions on the disbursement of the funds. As I have stated previously, let the BHEA and the NJEA designate the funding, and they will have to answer to their members. 

To the Editor

In response to Doug Reinstein's comments which appeared in the TAPinto, dated September 17, 2019, I am appalled that he would cite anonymous sources in his efforts to strengthen his position during the teachers’ contract negotiation standoff.

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Letters and phone calls with no names and the idea that these people want to “stay out of the public eye [for] fear any negative ramification from teachers” is preposterous and quite frankly an insult to the intelligence of the community you have sworn to serve. 

As you can clearly see, I am not afraid nor ashamed to identify myself. Why you may ask? The answer is simple. In spite of our differences in this process, I have the utmost faith that the Board will always conduct themselves in a professional manner, and will not seek penalty or retribution against my wife nor any teacher. I know the Board respects everyone’s constitutional right to voice their opinion. It would certainly become a very slippery slope should unfounded harm fall upon anyone voicing their rightful opinion.

You say that some in the public have anonymously expressed their opinion in your support, but are fearful of being made public. Mr. Reinstein, here is where you had a golden opportunity to show your support of our teachers, not just say that you do. Without hesitation, you should have addressed these anonymous letters and phone calls with the response that our teachers are nothing but professional and that they would never bestow harm to your child, much the same way I put my faith in the Board. You did not do this. Instead, you give credence to those unwilling to make their comments in public. Hearsay, innuendo and idle gossip are not legitimate ways for one to make their point. In a court of law, such ‘evidence’ would be laughed at and promptly dismissed.

Also of issue here is that parents may finally be realizing the extra effort our teachers do every day, above and beyond what any contract mandates, to make this district the jewel that it is. These same parents, which you cite, are now annoyed at having lost these ‘extra’ benefits as the teachers are now working within the confines of their expired contract.

I implore you to have your supporters put name to letter and phone call, and stress to these people that our teachers are the utmost professionals. This would provide much needed credibility to your claims.  

Dr. August Pellegrini