PLAINFIELD, NJ — Plainfield Board of Education members and Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell suspended the regular order of business to recognize two outstanding sports teams at Tuesday’s business meeting. The audience was packed with players from both the POP Warner Titans and the Plainfield Cardinals Middle School football teams, along with their coaches and supporters.
The Cardinals team, led by coaches Kenny Howard and Joshua Webb, finished the season with an impressive 7-1 record. They fell to the Franklin Warriors in the Big Central Middle School Championship Game earlier this month. The Plainfield Pop Warner Titans 8U Level were the winners of the Garden State Bowl.
The student athletes were recognized and presented with certificates of achievement as educators and families looked on.
Then, after holding a closed door executive session to address walk-on agenda items, the business meeting resumed and the board moved swiftly to approve restoring Plainfield Education Association President Charisse Parker to a part-time status within the district.
Parker had been on approved full-time release per her contract since assuming the position of PEA President earlier this year.
During the public open comment period, Parker addressed board members, asking them to honor her contract. She stated that during her time as president she has been able to work collaboratively with Dr. Mitchell, and has secured over $300,000 in resources, guaranteed for three years, from the New Jersey Education Association to partner with the district to help get schools out of status.
Parker also stated that the high school will be receiving over one thousand books as a result of meeting with administrators to improve student and staff climate and culture.
Full-time release has been in effect in the Plainfield school district for over 20 years, and other school districts, including Elizabeth, New Brunswick and Lakewood, are honoring full-time release, according to Parker.
The resolution was approved and Parker will be transferred from the PEA office to Maxson Middle School, effective Nov. 20.
According to the NJEA website, release time for local presidents has been a common practice in New Jersey for more than 50 years, and has the approval of the Public Employment Relations Commission, or PERC.
Nearby TAPinto Wayne reported that a New Jersey Superior Appeals Court ruled in late August that paying a full-time release Union President with public funds was against public policy.
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