I would like to clarify what happened at the Parsippany Board of Education meeting on Jan. 24.
During the public portion of the meeting I started to read a prepared statement regarding teacher contracts and apparently the Parsippany teachers and their union rep, Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association President Judy Mayer did not appreciate my opinions.
They began commenting from the audience and it became noisy, I got frustrated, lost my place and in talking about contracts I asked if there was a termination period (two years waiting for a contract—when do negotiations cease?).
Then, again with a lot of commotion behind me, I said something along the line of "Let the teachers walk out." It was at this point that Mayer and most of the teachers in attendance made a mass exodus.
My statement did not come out right, so I would like to share with you my prepared statement from that night. Remember, this is my opinion.
I was flabbergasted, stunned and dumbfounded when I read [an article] regarding the teachers’ contract, specifically in regards to Mayer’s statement. She said, "Because the Board of Ed. is not compromising, they [teachers] will not volunteer their personal time for school functions."
Is it the Board of Education that’s not compromising or is it the teachers' union? It takes both sides to compromise. The fact that they don’t have a contract is not just the board’s fault.
The teachers have been treated very well by this township. When was the last time taxpayers denied [them] a raise? There were a lot of school districts whose teachers made concessions. Mayer is saying they are working without a contract. Then why are we continuing for more than two years again wasting taxpayer money? Isn’t there a termination period?
The taxpayers are handcuffed. If there was a termination period, it would be the teacher’s choice. They would be free to go elsewhere or sign the contract and stay.
I, for one, am tired of contracts not being done in a timely manner. I do think the school board has done its due diligence after more than two years. Now it is up to the teachers.
Residents should see the extras teachers are paid. Teachers receive stipends for almost everything.
Some examples are curriculum changes, mentoring new teachers, hall monitoring, etc. In my opinion some of these extras we are paying for should be inclusive in the teacher’s job. This I have been saying for years.
Parsippany taxpayers just recently chose to change the Board of Education and get new representation.
Maybe the PTHEA needs new leadership after two years and still no contract. If something isn’t working, try to fix it. This is not meant to insult anyone but we’ve got to get past these contracts.
Ed. note: A new contract between the PTHEA and the school district was ratified last Tuesday.
PTHEA President Judy Mayer offered a rebuttal to Petaccia's opinion.