RANDOLPH, NJ - The Board of Education is still waiting to hear from the Randolph Education Association to continue negotiations for teachers’ salaries. Recently, the REA reported they would be responsible for 70 percent of the salaries, but the BOE released details of the contract showing a responsibility of only 12 percent.
Board President Ron Conti reminded the public the REA declared an impasse in November and “since then negotiations have stalled.”
The next scheduled mediation is April 11, but the board has been willing to meet without mediation since the last October 2017 meeting in order to move forward with the contract, Conti said.
Sheldon Epstein, chair of the Finance, Facilities and Transportation committee presented the current proposal from the BOE, focusing on the source of funding for the contract.
“The REA is redistributing 12 percent of the increase to all members,” Epstein explained. “The REA is not funding 70 percent of the current proposal, or anything close to it.”
The remaining 88 percent of the contract would be funded by state and local taxes.
According to the document released at the March 13 meeting, the baseline total salary comes in around $42 million with approximately 655 staff members. This would be a $4 million increase in salaries, but gives $127,000 back to the REA through a health insurance transition.
“Contract discussions are never easy,” Conti said. “In a perfect world teachers would get as much money as they like, our schools would always be in like-new condition, our curriculum would be cutting edge, and our schools more secure than Area 51 and our taxes would never go up.”
He reiterated the obligation of the board to be fiscally responsible, keep the students safe and increase taxes a maximum of 2 percent. “Because of these responsibilities, not everyone can get what they want,” he said.