BOE & RPEA Reach Tentative Agreement

School board member Loren Harms, before reading a prepared statement at the March 21st BOE (Board Of Education) meeting, asked anyone in the audience who is a member of the Roselle Park Education Association (RPEA) to stand, as they had done in previous meetings when RPEA President Kathleen MacDonald spoke before the Board.

Mr. Harms then read, “The Roselle Park Board Of Education and the Association met at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, March 21st 2013, last night. Representatives of the Roselle Park Board Of Education and the Roselle Park Education Association entered into a Memorandum Of Agreement covering the period from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015. The information regarding the Memorandum Of Agreement still remains confidential until the parties are able to work out specific details and develop the salary guides. After the development of the salary guides, each of the parties will consider the Memorandum Of Agreement for ratification beginning first with the Association and then with the Board. Both parties express appreciation for the hard work of the representatives of the Board Of Education and also the Association involved. I want to thank all the members of the Association for their support and giving us time to work out the details. Thank you.”

Members of the audience applauded once the statement was read and BOE President Chris Miller thanks the BOE negotiating committee as well as the RPEA.

This appears to put an end to the public back-and-forth between the RPEA and the RP BOE which started, in earnest, at the beginning of the year through the public comment portion of BOE meetings. At the center of RPEA President Kathleen MacDonald’s criticism of the school board was that they were not communicating nor negotiating in good faith and, instead, opted to file for a legal ‘impasse’ instead of engaging in dialogue with the Association. The BOE’s position was that there was no meaningful nor productive dialogue so they filed for an ‘impasse’ which would call for a mediator to become involved. The BOE stated that there was a delay in having a mediator assigned to this issue due to the backlog of negotiations throughout the state with school boards. The RPEA contended that talks could continue while waiting.

Along the way, the RPEA President stated that the Association would accept an overall 2% increase in salaries for personnel when she stated she would accept the contracts of either the Hillside or Summit school district (both had a 2% increase) and that a Memorandum Of Agreement from the RPEA would be a ‘waste of paper’. As of this printing, the BOE meeting agenda for April 9th does not include an item for the consideration to approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the RP BOE and the RPEA.