BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan Board of Education is apparently close to a contract agreement with its bus drivers, and it may also be close to another one with its teachers.
Board member Jeffrey Brookner, who heads the negotiating committee, said at the board’s June 11 meeting that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Bridgewater-Raritan Transportation Association, which oversees most of the district’s current crop of bus drivers. He said the committee had signed an agreement that night, and added that the terms would become public once the association approved the agreement.
Brookner elaborated that the plan is to have the school board vote on the agreement in two weeks time, at its June 25 meeting, and that all transportation bids for new outsourcing for bus services would be rejected by the board.
“Thanks to the Bridgewater-Raritan Transportation Association,” said Brookner. “We had a nice couple of days of talks. It was very professional, and I appreciated the collegiality. We hope to continue a good working relationship of many years.”
A dozen current school bus drivers, and a number of local parents, spoke publicly at the board’s last meeting in May, when they pleaded with the Bridgewater-Raritan school district not to outsource its busing to outside companies. Included among them was Ron Schmidt, the B-RTA’s president, who spoke again at the board meeting June 11 when he thanked the board of ed for working with the association.
“The contract looks like it will be excellent,” he said.
He added that no drivers were lost in the contract, and that he hopes the board and the association will keep working together in the future.
Also on Tuesday, Brookner said that the negotiating committee is “very close” to an agreement in the near future with the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association, which represents the district’s school teachers. He said he hoped an announcement would be made in two weeks time.
Bridgewater-Raritan’s teachers have been working without a full contract for the last year, after the last three-year one expired in July 2018. At the beginning of this year, the B-REA and the board entered into a one-year agreement that expires at the end of the month.