Dear Editor,

The following is a letter to the SPF Board of Education that appears in a petition to support our teachers.

"To the members of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education,

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As concerned community members, we implore you to settle a fair contract with the teachers and staff in our schools who have been working under a contract that expired in June of 2018.  These individuals are the heart and souls of our schools and they are not being respected or compensated at a level equal to their professional excellence.

In 2011, then-Governor Christie passed Chapter 78 into law.  This restructured the State-administered Health Benefits Programs and required teachers and staff to contribute large percentages of their salaries to health insurance premiums.  This lowered their take home pay significantly. Any pay raises they received, which are lower than the Union County average, didn't fill that gap.  This resulted in many bringing home smaller paychecks than they did 8 years ago.  Our teachers have taken on second and even third jobs to support their families because of this.  How long can teachers be expected to give 100% to our children when they are doing more for less?  This is not sustainable and is terrible for morale.

If this continues, we worry about the ability to attract high quality teachers to our district and run the risk of lower teacher retention.  This could be detrimental to the future of SPF.  If the quality of education starts to deteriorate, this will have an adverse affect on our state rankings and home property values.  Our great schools are a huge attraction to home buyers and therefore this issue effects every household.

The time to negotiate a fair contract for these super-heroes in our community is NOW!"

The petition to support SPF teachers can be found here: http://chng.it/MjVDZnvjY5

Thank you,

Concerned parents of SPF