The members of the Hunterdon Central Regional HS Education Association have been working under an expired contract since September of 2015. Our Association is made up of the teachers, counselors, nurses, secretaries, custodians and paraprofessionals who work at Hunterdon Central. While our Negotiations Team has been hard at work for a year and a half now trying to negotiate with the BOE for a fair and equitable contract to what other education associations have been receiving throughout the state, so far, they have been unsuccessful. Here are some of our concerns regarding the BOE’s lack of willingness to offer us a contract that is equitable to what has been offered and settled on in similar high-achieving school districts:
- The longer it takes to settle the contract, the more disheartening it is for our members. To our members, the BOE’s unwillingness to offer our team a fair and equitable contract is a sign that they do not value the work that we do and the many ways that we go above and beyond our required duties in order to support our students. It causes a huge lack of morale. Over the past year we have lost several excellent teachers to neighboring school districts due to this (and the higher salaries that they have been offered in those districts). Many more are talking about leaving.
- Our ability to maintain the standards that have helped us achieve our national blue ribbon status and our long-standing record of academic and extracurricular excellence will be impossible to continue if our association is forced to accept one of the BOE’s proposals regarding teaching load. How will it affect the value of your property if HCRHS loses its record of academic excellence?
- While the BOE has strived for 0% budget increases over the past seven years, cutting costs in every area (supplies, programs, staffing, operational costs), they have spent over $18 million in capital improvements over the past four years alone, and have another $8 million of capital improvements already approved for the future. And yet they are unwilling to offer our members a salary increase that is equitable to what is being offered to teachers in similar school districts. What does this say about their priorities?
Are you as concerned about some of their choices as we are? If so, please contact every member of the BOE and let them know this. Better yet, come to the June 20th BOE meeting and make a public statement. Ask them if the changes they are proposing to make to the employment contract are the type of changes that will attract and retain highly qualified teachers, or are they the type of changes that will cause teachers to want to leave after working at our school only a couple of years. Tell them that it’s time, after 7 years of working hard to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayer by cutting costs at every level, to be fiscally responsible in a different way: by investing in the very people who make Hunterdon Central the award-winning school district that people move into the area for. Urge them to preserve, or improve, the present working conditions and teaching load so that we can continue providing the support and services that we are known for, and that our students need in order to thrive in both high school and beyond.
President, HCRHS Education Association
PS: Please share this message with 10 people you know who live within Hunterdon Central’s sending districts (Flemington, Raritan Twp., Readington, East Amwell, and Delaware Twp.), and ask them to share it with 10 more people.
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