WAYNE, NJ - A temporary resolution was passed at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Wayne Board of Education to allow Eda Ferrante to remain on full-time release as President of the Wayne Education Association as per their existing agreement but with one change: instead of the WEA reimbursing for 75% of Ferrante’s salary, it would now pay, up-front, 100% of her employment costs, which includes salary and her share of benefits.
Ferrante would remain an employee of the Wayne school district on full-time leave to attend to her job as President of the teacher’s union.
“Ultimately, the public is not paying her,” said Mark Toback, the Superintendent of the Wayne school district. “The reality of the court’s ruling precludes the district from paying. As a result of that, we had to do something. Continuing to pay 75/25 was not going to work, because there is a court decision that does have some bearing on how we do business here.”
In late August of this year a New Jersey Superior Appellate Court’s decision in Rosenblit v. Lyles stated that paying someone who worked full-time for a union with public funds was against public policy. See Story
Last Friday, representatives and attorneys from both the WEA and the Wayne school district met at the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) for arbitration, where the basis for this temporary agreement was worked out.
The agreement expires at the end of November. Although the two sides are much closer to a permanent agreement than they were at the beginning of the school year, the negotiations are not yet done.
“There’s just some details that have to be worked out at this point,” said Toback.
“This was positive that they honored what was agreed upon at the previous meeting,” said Ferrante, later adding: “We want to make sure we are working with the district, and we’re prepared to pay the 100%, for now. And, whatever terms we come up with in the sidebar agreement may or may not include 100% payment.”
Toback hopes that the final negotiation will be settled, and the issue is completely resolved before this temporary resolution expires at the end of November.