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Halloween at the Hills May Be Doomed Due to Contract Dispute

Teachers will 'refrain from volunteering our own personal time beyond the agreed-upon work hours,' according to letter sent to parents.

The Parsippany Hills High School students announced at Thursday's Board of Education meeting that the anticipated Halloween at the Hills community-wide event scheduled for Oct. 30 may not go forward.

Student Council Executive Board member Chase Boyle informed board members Thursday that he and his fellow students were distressed after learning that because of the difficulty recruiting staff members to volunteer as chaperones and organizers, the popular annual community celebration may not go forward as planned.

Now parents may know why.

Patch was sent over the weekend an undated letter from the Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association, the union representing district teachers, that was addressed to parents.

As you may be aware, the [PTHEA] has been without a contract for the past year. As the Board of Education has been unwilling to negotiate our proposals or to work with us to find a path to a compromise, we have decided to refrain from volunteering our own personal time beyond the agreed-upon work hours.

We are saddened to have to take this step and we do not take it lightly, but we cannot in good conscience continue to work "above and beyond" while the Board will not consider our needs.

The letter on PTHEA letterhead, which contains the name of union president Judy Mayer but no signature, goes on to say that extracurricular activities sponsored by appointed advisers will continue, as will events where teacher chaperones have already promised to participate.

The document also tells parents that the teachers' commitment to "quality of education" will continue, despite their dispute with the school board.

"We will still be there, teaching, helping and offering support just as we always have. ... [W]e have very little choice if we are to be taken seriously, while not curtailing our professional integrity and responsibilities."

Because the letter had no signature, Patch contacted Mayer directly to ascertain its authenticity. She confirmed it.

"As the letter states, the actions taken by the PTHEA will in no way impact the quality of education students in Parsippany are receiving," Mayer explained. "Many after-hour extracurricular activities  have run simply because teachers have volunteered their time;  many hours by many teachers.  For years teahers have been doing this, often at the expense of spending time with their own families.  

"The district has taken this practice  for granted. We want them to know how much time and energy, above and beyond, teachers in Parsippany expend  on behalf of our students."

PTHEA members clad in blue T-shirts stood at the BOE meeting Thursday to show their solidarity in contract negotiations. Mayer said the union expects mediation between the parties to take place this month.

Regarding Halloween at the Hills, Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz said that discussions will take place regarding recruiting chaperones in the hope that the event will take place as planned.

No discussion took place regarding any cancellation of Halloween at the High, the Oct. 31 Parsippany High School event scheduled for the northern half of the township.

steve revette October 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Concerned Teacher I do appreciate all the good things Teachers did for me. I for one do not question whether or not you work enough hours because I wouldn't know as I was never a teacher nor do I plan on becoming a teacher. However I do know that teachers can get away with ALOT of things that other people could not. Also if your a Parsippany Teacher and you believe ALL your co workers are wonderful teachers I respect that, however from my own personal experience I believe otherwise.
VietNam Vet October 27, 2012 at 05:33 AM
This has dumbest thing I've heard of yet from these overpaid teachers, its petty anty crap like this that make the residents unsympethetic to their cause. You punish the kids because you don't have a lousey contract. Its things like this that show the people why they shouldn't be behind the teachers, besides when a couple of years ago when everyone was hurting and out of work, the teachers showed what they were made of and said they didn't care and took their raise anyway, that showed us the kind of greedy people they really are, just like speitz.
VietNam Vet October 27, 2012 at 05:38 AM
I couldn't have said it better M, I use to work on a 15 hour a day schedule and we shut up and did our jobs, next they'll want to be paid for taking lunch as well. They already get a few months vacation each year and still get part time jobs to make even more money, it shows the kind of cloth they are cut from.
VietNam Vet October 27, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Teacher, if you stop and think about it many of us were or are professionals in our own field as well, but if we got our benefits paid in full by you and a few months vacation each year and couldn't be fired and still made up to $ 93,000 a year and paid by you, you would scream bloody murder and say we are overpaid, but we were more in line with salaries today and only got 1 or 2 weeks vacation and had to chip in for our benefits and unlike you we could be fired because we didn't have protection from everything. What we are saying is we don't begrudge anyone from making an honest living, but not at somebody elses pain. The residents are hurting from the loss of jobs and their homes but do you care or feel sorry about that? No You just show how uncaring you are by taking an increase of 4%, when everyone else who still has a job is lucky if they get a 2% raise. These people can't keep it up before they lose their homes, but you could care less about that. It shows what you really are made of.
steve revette October 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Teacher what about the other teachers because you and I both know that there are many PARSPPANY teachers who are nothing like that. What about the teachers who see bullying but do nothing about it? What about the teachers that are doing the bullying? What about the teachers who don't even show up for their scheduled class? Also you think Teachers are the only profession that takes their work home? I got calls all during the night from work because of customer complaints and stuff like that. Also I couldn't care less about what kind of degree teachers have doesn't make them a good teacher because I know that there is not 98 percent good Teachers in any school district. I don't have a degree and many of the people I have trained said I taught them so much at my job. To be honest I was thinking about going into Education when I was a freshman in Highschool Because I was so good with kids and loved school. Two years later everything changed and I wanted to drop out of school altogether and everything that happened I didn't even want to go to college never mind become a teacher because of the people you think deserve RESPECT.

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