Agenda Item 20 at the October 20th Board Of Education (BOE) meeting approved the three-year Roselle Park Education Association (RPEA) Contract for school years 2015-18. Only three out of the five BOE members in attendance were able to vote due to a legal conflict of interest with two of the Board members present at the meeting. The two recused members were either employed in a school district or had family members living with them that were employed in a school district. The BOE members Alex Balaban, Rodric Bownan, Scott Bruckenstein, and President Christopher Miller were absent but provided notice beforehand, according the Board.
At that meeting, BOE Attorney Jennifer Osborne read a statement into the record laying out the memorandum and approval of the agreement. She also clarified that the vote of three was sufficient to approve the contract in line with Board Policy 9325-4 which read, in part, “All motions shall require for adoption a majority vote of those present and voting (minimally, a majority of the quorum), except as provided by code or statute.”
No further details were provided at the October 20th meeting, even when directly asked by members of the public who were in attendance.
At the November 3rd BOE meeting, attorney Anthony Sciarrillo read a statement announcing that the contract had been agreed to by both parties and that the increase was an average 2.4% over the three-year contract.
In the interim, Roselle Park News submitted an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Request for a copy of the agreement or Memorandum of Agreement. It received a 28-page document that combined handwritten notes with the memorandums for both the RPEA and the Custodian & Maintenance Unit.
A major component of the contract, salaries, will have increases of 2.3% for the first year of the contract, 2.4% for the second, and 2.5% for the 2017-18 school year for what was termed ‘the cost of increment’. This not only includes salaries but stipends and contributions to health insurance.
The handwritten notes touched upon changes in the agreement as it relates to:
- Teaching hours and teaching load
- The duration of an elementary classroom period
- ESL teachers in grades 6 through 12 not receiving additional compensation for teaching a sixth period
- Assigning five classes to any high school teacher assigned to teach Advanced Architectural Design
- Voiding any provisions regarding Teacher Evaluation not consistent with the Board Approved Evaluation Model and TEACHNJ
- Health Insurance; specifically the enrollment of new employees in the Direct Access Medical Plan while allowing those already in the district who are enrolled in the Point Of Service Medical Plan the option of remaining in the plan or enrolling in Direct Access.
With regard to salary, as stated before, notes stated that in each year, the addition upon increase shall include the cost of increment and that a salary adjustment may result in a modification of current salary guides, scales, and steps including the implementation of additional steps. The memorandum also explained that any salary guide correction shall be mutually arrived at by the RPEA and BOE but subject to BOE approval.
Changes in job descriptions and pay scale for wrestling, cheerleading, robotics, and volleyball were also addressed in the tentative agreement along with extended leaves of absence, Professional Development and Educational Improvement hours, and removal of a Teacher-Administration liaison. There was also the dealing of the Paraprofessionals’ Provision regarding retirement compensation for accumulated regular sick leave where personal days will not be accrued toward retirement compensation.
The tentative Custodial & Maintenance Unit Memorandum removed sections dealing with the summer work schedule as well as holidays and had a modification regarding seniority and overtime along with a compensation increase of $1 an hour for general maintenance jobs.
The rest of the document had the salary guides for teachers, secretaries, instructional paraprofessionals, enterprise clerk, administrative/clerical paraprofessionals, and the computer aide along with the custodial salary guide.
A copy of the Memorandum of Agreement is available below.