WAYNE, NJ – The Jersey City Education Association argued for a Stay in the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division on the Full-Time Release issue which is causing a rift between the Wayne school district and the Wayne Education Association (WEA). The Stay was denied, keeping Wayne’s teachers union President, Eda Ferrante in the classroom. See the original TAPinto Wayne story here.
“The stay was an attempt to prevent the decision from taking effect immediately, and the court said ‘no, we want the decision to take effect immediately,’” said John Geppert, the attorney for the Wayne school district. “The next step will be to see whether the Supreme Court actually takes the case to decide it at that point.”
“It is a complicated legal matter that has a far-reaching impact across New Jersey,” said Dr. Mark Toback, the Superintendent of the Wayne school district.
There are approximately twenty-five school districts in New Jersey who have a Full-Time Release President being paid with public funds.
According to Donna Reaver, the first vice president of the WEA, every other district has reached a solution with the Full-Time Release Issue, except for Wayne. “All other districts across the state have kept their collective bargaining agreement intact or reached a solution- a Compromise!” said Reaver at last night’s BOE meeting.
Geppert contradicted this at the September 19 BOE meeting: “We are aware of at least two other districts, Jersey City and East Orange that have returned the presidents to the classroom.”
While the New Jersey Education Association filed a petition with the Supreme Court to hear the case, the WEA has filed a complaint with PERC, the Public Employees Relations Commission against the Wayne school district. PERC will hear both sides in a meeting on October 18.
Despite the legal wrangling, both sides met on the evening of October 2 to “work together to resolve the full-time release issue for the President of the Wayne Education Association,” said Toback.
At the October 2 meeting, proposals were exchanged, and some options were discussed, but no settlement was reached. “Both sides are conducting research to determine the viability of shared proposals,” said Toback.
During the October 3 BOE meeting Reaver said they were extremely disappointed with the outcome of the meeting that occurred the night before. “We believe we brought forth reasonable proposals that were in everyone’s best interest. We do not believe the district came back with the same,” she said.
“I know you feel that you don’t have a choice in how this is resolved, and that to do anything about this problem puts the district at risk,” said Reaves, addressing the Wayne BOE. “Frankly, the bigger risk is the inevitable erosion of the labor-management relationship and its effect on the morale and effectiveness of our district’s great public schools.”
Reaver ended by saying: “At the last Board meeting, almost all of you that were there told us, and the press, that you wanted to reach a resolution. If that is truly the case, then I urge you, any of you, to make a motion here tonight to restore our collective bargaining agreement and put Eda back into her full-time release position.”
Only silence from the Board followed Reaver’s challenge and no motion was made.