UNION, NJ – No definitive lay off numbers for Union's non-tenured teachers and staff were provided at Tuesday night’s Board of Education work session. In May, over 200 non-tenured teachers and staff received letters of non-renewal.
In response to questions from Rich D’Avanzo, Vice President of the Union Township Education Association, Superintendent Gregory Tatum said they are still working on finalizing the exact number of non-tenured employees who will not be called back before June 30.
“There is still a lot of concern,” said D’Avanzo. “Our members basically got a pink slip and don’t have a job to come back to unless something occurs in the meantime.” D’Avanzo said tenured employees are also concerned about where and what they will be teaching next year. “Here it is June 12, and we’re winding down school and non-tenured employees don’t know if they’ll be back.”
Tatum first addressed the issue of tenured staff and said, pursuant to their contract, they must receive their tentative assignment a week before the close of school. “Which certainly will happen," said Tatum. "Remember, the key word is tentative. It’s not necessarily their actual assignment. The goal has always been to place all the tenured teachers first in their assignment.”
“We have been working extremely, extremely hard to restore positions,” continued Tatum. He said there has been restoration of some positions, but would not disclose the number. “When we go into executive session tonight, the full Board will be apprised of that information.” Tatum added he will be meeting with principals individually to talk about actual staffing and where people are being placed, “tentatively”.
Tatum said they are working on ‘re-purposing’ funds that “will help bring back additional positions.” He said based on re-purposing some of those funds, “we probably knocked off another 13 positions that will be restored in addition to the list that we’ve already restored. And we continue to move forward with that.”
Tatum said the administration is looking at filling long term leave replacements with non-tenured teachers. He added they are also looking very closely at the certifications of staff, as a number of teachers have dual certifications, so “we’ve looking at where people are certified and if indeed there is an option to take that person.”
“All positions that will become vacant in the district will go to our staff before anyone outside as long as they meet the certification requirements," added Tatum.
As for notification, Tatum said, “I expect next week when you see the agenda, that you’ll see an updated P1 [Personnel Actions] with names included that you haven’t seen yet. My goal is over the next few days to sit with Mr. [Gerry] Benaquista and Mrs. [Annie] Moses [Assistant Superintendents] and start talking about where we’re going to put people. Once we have that information together and the Board’s been apprised, we’ll be ready to start notifying people and bring them back to work.”