WEST ORANGE, NJ – After more than two years of contract negotiations with the West Orange Education Association (WOEA), the West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) approved a “memorandum of agreement” on Monday that will provide raises for district teachers. In addition, the agreement covers the new salaries for administrative assistants, paraprofessionals, technology staff and security guards.

The vote for the new contract, according to Monday’s vote, covers the successor collective negotiations agreement for the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020.

With the passage of the contract agreement, the board voted to approve amended appointments and retroactive pay. It accepted Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Rutzky’s recommendation to approve salaries for the 2015-16 school year for the WOEA Bargaining Unit Members retroactive from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The board also approved the new salaries for this past year, and for the upcoming school year.

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Rutzky said that the new contract agreement will also provide the funding and staffing for a proposed new pre-school that would be housed in The Life Christian Church, located at 747 Northfield Ave. If the township proceeds with the current plan, it would be renting six classrooms in this facility for $250,000.

“The Life Christian Church has built a phenomenal pre-school facility, and there are many rooms that we can use there,” said Rutzky, who added that facilities that have been considered for a pre-school in the past would have cost the township between $400,000 and $500,000.

Rutzky said this facility would enable the pre-school program to move out of the Kelly Elementary School, and help alleviate overcrowding in Kelly. According to Rutzky, this would also allow the Language Learning Disabilities (LLD) classes in the “overcrowded” Gregory and Redwood Elementary Schools to move to the Kelly Elementary School.

“This would enable teachers to teach a single LLD grade level at a time, which would be very helpful to them,” said Rutzky, adding that this would also mean that only one out of the three trailers at the Gregory School would be needed for classroom space. “This would be a big step for the Gregory school community.”

All board members in attenance (Irv Schwarzbaum was absent) spoke out in favor of this move. Rutzky indicated that there are still issues to be resolved before it is a final go for this preschool change. 

Pictured above are:

Cheryl Butler, director of student personnel services and counseling at WOHS, talking about initiatives to improve counseling services throughout the district.

Superintendent Jeffrey Rutzky, WOBOE President Sandra Mordecai, Jen Dahl (who teaches journalism at WOHS) and Elizabeth Veneziano (English supervisor) congratulate Anna Favetta (middle) for being the first West Orange student to win the prestigious Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Award

The WOBOE recognizes the accomplishments of the WOHS Girls Track & Field team.

The WOHS Boys Track & Field Team is recognized for excellent year by the WOBOE.