RANDOLPH, NJ- At the board of education meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 2, the board found it imperative to address the public after receiving feedback on the statement given the week prior concerning the teacher's contract. They want the public to be clear that they are being transparent, honest and open to all of the Randolph public.

“Our committee meetings are open to the public, we invite the public to speak at the podium. It is very important that we control communications and we’re open with communications,” said Board President Tammy Mackay.

When the Randolph Education Association (REA) declared an impasse, the board provided a statement update to the public to maintain all disclosure. Even though the REA announced that they were at an impasse, the board stands ready to negotiate while they wait for a mediator.

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“A comment was made about the board’s integrity and inability to negotiate. This is a hard working board with incredible integrity and we’re doing a good job. We will get to contract negotiations and we will negotiate a fair and equitable contract,” said Mackay.

Healthcare was another issue within the teachers contract addressed that has created some confusion. A misunderstanding led the public to believe that teachers would be responsible for paying one hundred percent of the healthcare premium, which is not the case. Teachers pay a percent of the premiums calculated based on salary. The primary percentage of contribution depending on whether it is single, family or co-dependent is 35 percent, not one hundred percent.

Randolph Education Association Co-President Doug North spoke to the board Tuesday night on behalf of the association’s members. North has worked in the Randolph district for 15 years and expressed that his take home pay continues to decrease along with many other individuals.

“We’re hardworking and we take our jobs very seriously. We do not expect to get rich from this line of work, but we do expect to be treated fairly as we exercise our right to negotiate the new contract. Just like you, we deserve enough money to provide for their families. We are not greedy school employees. We are the people who make the Randolph Schools what they are today,” said North.

The REA asks the public to not only view them as school employees but as mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives who are simply trying to make a living.

Another ongoing public concern is with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), the new computer based assessment test that students will be taking for the first time in the spring. The board is planning a PARCC information session for parents in January. The elementary principals will have a presentation about the PARCC assessment test for all elementary parents as well.

The last important item that was discussed on behalf of the education committee was to bring in Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and other similar programs in to enhance the schools health curriculum. Throughout New Jersey, districts are using a program called “Too Good” which has two versions, “Too Good For Drugs” and “Too Good For Violence.” The objective would be to take pieces of each program to improve the curriculum and invite guest speakers to the middle school health classes. Middle School students will be given a lesson, which will illustrate the future of the health program.

“We have to look at what is being covered and what is valuable to our students over that three year period,” said Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Fano.