Roxbury Teachers on After-Hours Work: "We're Done"

Roxbury teachers listen at school board meeting
Newly hired Assistant Roxbury Schools Superintendent Charles Seipp and his wife, Katie

ROXBURY, NJ – Until they get a new contract, Roxbury teachers will not participate in unpaid, after-hours activities, said their union leader tonight.

Making the announcement at a contentious Roxbury School Board meeting, teachers’ union president Cindy Knill received applause from teachers in the audience. Roxbury teachers are working under a contract that expired June 30, 2014.

As they did at the Jan. 27 school board meeting, both sides blamed the other for the impasse in contract negotiations. At that meeting, Knill hinted a curtailment of extra-curricular effort by teachers was being considered.

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Noting the teachers are “588 days and counting” without a new contract, she tonight said the time had come to pull the plug.

 “Up until this time, we have not withheld any services to our students,” said Knill. “We have continued to volunteer our time and support many of the extra activities that our students enjoy and benefit from.  We work long hours and many of us stay late to complete work and assist students. We have chaperoned many after school activities and attend many functions our students participate in. This will unfortunately no longer continue.”

Knill said board members have not shown they “appreciate the efforts and many extra hours” teachers give for the extra-curricular activities.

“These activities would not occur nor would they be successful without the time and effort our members provide each and every day,” she said. “We will no longer provide any service to students that cannot be completed during the course of the school day that we are not compensated for. “

The school board and the teacher’s union disagree about the distribution of teacher salaries. The teachers’ union asserts the board wants to add extra, and unnecessary, salary steps to the salary guides. The board says its plan would allow newer teachers to more quickly get raises. It says this would help make the district more attractive to prospective new teachers.

In other business, the board announced the hiring of Charles Seipp as the district’s new assistant district superintendent. Seipp, a Roxbury resident, is leaving the Mendham school district, where he worked as principal of the Mountain View Middle School. He will begin April 4 and will be paid $145,000.

The assistant superintendent position was previously held by Loretta Radulic. She was named superintendent last month, replacing former superintendent Patrick Tierney, who resigned to take a superintendent position in Jefferson.

Tonight the board also announced the resignation of district business administrator Susan Joyce, who was hired last February and stopped working for Roxbury on Feb. 1. 

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