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No Contract for 2 Years Shows 'Disrespect,' Teacher Says

Led by union president, teachers in blue shirts stood in solidarity Thursday before the Board of Education.

A group of Parsippany teachers—frustrated over working for two years without a contract—took a stand at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

As Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association President Judy Mayer spoke to the school board during the meeting's public comment section, about 30 union members, all wearing blue PTHEA T-shirts, rose to their feet.

"We are here tonight to show our dedication and our love for our jobs," she said. "We come every day and give it our all. Because of the work of teachers and the administration of this district, these children have accomplished much. 

"We take pride in our jobs ... and [we've done] it without a contract, for two years."

Parsippany Hills High School history teacher Sam Varsano followed Mayer to the microphone.

Speaking for no one but himself, he said, Varsano asserted that teachers work very hard to give students a quality education. He said he is confused as to why teachers are in year three of negotiations with no pact struck with the administration.

"I hear about the accomplishments of our high schools ... and our students, but even that's not enough to give us the dignity of a contract," Varsano said, adding that teachers are often demonized by the public. "I hear what people say. I sounds like they're saying we're overpaid, selfish and lazy. I've run two different businesses, I've met a payroll each week. I've never worked as hard as I've had to work to be a successful teacher. I don't know where the idea comes from that this group is not deserving.

"My conclusion is that the feelings I get [from the board] is a lack of initiative for us to get an appropriate and fair settlement [include] disappointment, discouragement and the beginning of a feeling of disrespect."

Despite the difficulties, Mayer said teachers still turn up each day and guide students toward excellence.

"Teachers do what they need to do," she said. "They are a devoted group of teachers."

The union president said teachers are a huge reason for recent district achievements including rising student standardized test scores, the growing number of students earning the "advanced proficient" designation and the inclusion of both district high schools among NJ Monthly's ranking of the state's top 100 high schools.

"The results speak for themselves," she said.

The end to the contract stalemate could be forthcoming, Mayer said.

"We have mediation sessions scheduled for this month," she said. "Hopefully we will come to an agreement."

Lulu October 13, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I am not putting teachers down by any means. What I am saying is that it's a bunch of hogwash to say you are being disrespected because you don't have a contract. It's not about that, it's about the money. In hard times lets all be grateful for what we have & respect each other. We are all in the same boat ..... Trying to survive. Please, stop taking it personally.
Scott Dean October 13, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Was it hard times when Seitz worked his contract out ??
s. darwin October 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM
thanks, lulu, agreed that this is an economic situation, but that can be discussed with saying being 23rd in the state isn't worth anything. if anything, it raises property values. now that's economic!
Diane Campbell October 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Kudos for being on you game, Roman. I will give you credit for your research skills...but I don't see the connection between the teachers waiting three years and the Sietz attempting to renew before his contract was even up. Apples and oranges.
Diane Campbell October 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Roman....I can research too...seems you and I are not always on opposite sides...."Judy Mayer has allowed good teachers to be thrown under the bus, while some questionable people are being overpaid" By Roman Hoshowsky I would like to assume the questionable people include Seitz...which my quoted comment was based on. I will agree with YOU....Good teachers should NOT be thrown under the bus. I could not say it better myself. Thank you.
Roman Hoshowsky October 14, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Diane The questionable people i refer to are those who got their jobs via their relatives and connections. Those people should not be allowed to leapfrog over and trample the rights of those who earned their jobs on merit. Those who observe these injustices and allow it to go on are part of the problem. Few will argue that a degree of unfairness exists in the system. With tenure reform, the union focus should be be on assuring that ALL employees are treated with fairness and equality. Given the system that exists right now, I would say that is a mighty tall order. I have a feeling that many of those who showed up on Thursday night where there to say "SHOW ME THE MONEY"!
VietNam Vet October 14, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Diane, you should know that some of these teachers are already making probably more money than the average worker in any job. They also have better benifits than the average worker in most jobs and many of the school districts the teachers don't even contribute to their benifits, now I don't know of very many jobs out there, where the taxpayers pay for their benifits 100% and cannot be fired and if found to be in trouble for something will only be suspended and with pay. If I didn't something wrong on my job I would've been FIRED not suspended with pay and I had to contribute to my benny's unlike many teachers here and I didn't make half the money these teachers made, and I was responsible for hundreds of lives everyday.
VietNam Vet October 14, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Liz, many teachers are making more than $ 70,000 a year and then they get from June to Sept. off, how many other jobs in America pay their workers that kind of money and then give them about 3 months off for the summer and their benifits are paid 100% in most cases and the worker cannot be fired, and then still demand more money that the taxpayers have to foot the bill for all of the expences, and many get a part time job for the summer bringing their total salaries for the year even higher. I used to work about 15 hours a day 5 days a week and I worked 50 weeks out of the year and still didn't get paid half of their salary and I had to pay part of my benefits and could've been fired if I did something wrong. Come on most of these teachers got it made here and many other towns as well.
Diane Campbell October 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Vietnam vet, according to your your tag name, I approach with much respect. I will not argue that some of the teachers make more than I do. I just feel that we should not fault people because of that. I can't live my life being jealous of people who have made a better choice or got a better job. It just appears to me that many people who post seem bitter that they did not chose teaching as a career. I encourage them to do so. I am NOT debating how much I think they should or should not get as far as a raise. I am just saying that right is right. If you work in a profession that says you get a contract...then you should get it.
Kevin Brancato October 14, 2012 at 02:02 PM
You people for the contract are the she people who will be throwing the outrageous salary increase back in the BOE's face next year because we gave the teachers an increase. To say that they should get a raise just because Seitz duped Mancuso into redoing his contract is just a ridiculous statement. Let's just take a bad situation and make it worse is what that says to me. I say if the teachers will start being realistic with their demands and start paying for benefits and agree to increases that reflect the economy and what is effecting the taxpayers who pay their salary. Then give them all the respect in the world. If they had been close to reasonable in their demands to this point I'm sure they would have their contract and their so called respect. In the meantime all they can do is go public ( which the BOE can't do ) and try to create controversy by claiming disrespect. I say if you want respect lose the rep from the NJEA and negotiate the deal in public so we all can see how unreasonable your demands are. In the meantime they continue to have guaranteed jobs and great benefits. Now they don't want to be reasonable and want more. There is no doubt they do a great job but I think they need to address the disrespect they are showing us before they expect respect from us or the BOE. To the BOE keep up the good work and don't give in to unreasonable demands.
Liz October 14, 2012 at 05:15 PM
While I recognize "Freedom of Speech," identifying teachers by name is not fair. Sharing your personal feelings about a teacher in one simple sentence is unacceptable. Furthermore, HSPA rules for classified students is mandated by the state. If you are afforded extra time, you are not allowed to leave the room until the entire examination is completed. The teacher referred to in the HSPA reference DID his or her job by following the rules.
g October 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
s.darwin wrote, They will grade papers after school and plan tomorrows lesson well into the evening. And, in addition to formal education, they will teach respect, compassion and understanding so that the next generation will not misconstrue statistics and be able to formulate an intelligent conversation. "they will grade papers after school" Par troy district: Enrollment: 7,173 (as of 2008-09) Faculty (in FTEs): 641.6 Student–teacher ratio: 11.2 You give a test to 11.2 students . If you teach 6 subjects and give tests to 11.2 students in each class everyday, you will have 67 papers to grade. it would take 15 minutes for a total of 1 1/2 hours. If you get oout of school at 3 then you woulld be fnished by 4:30. Plan tomorrows lessons? Are you saying teachers plan the lessons for the next day? I thought they prepared lesson plans at the beginning of the school year. They should know the subject. so that the next generation will not misconstrue statistics and be able to formulate an intelligent conversation. Will they teach about run on sentences?
Roman Hoshowsky October 14, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Diane, I do not speak for Veitnam Vet, but let me try to put this in another perspective. While we all would like secure well paying jobs, that is not the reality for many of us. Most of us do not begrudge people who have better jobs. We are tired of people who already make a good living off the tax payer dollar, crying for more. There is no denying that a number of people who got into the profession did so just for the money. I also know that there are number of teachers who would agree that they are making a good living and would say, enough is enough, but they are afraid to speak out. Some of us, despite making good choices, have to work hard and struggle to get by. We have educations. We play by the rules. We don't take what we don't earn, and we pay most of the bills around here. Show us a little respect!
Roman Hoshowsky October 14, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Josie Not everyone forgets!
steve revette October 14, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I agree with you Josie. I've heard things about Betz I heard she is evil and everybody should knoiw that Mancuso agrees with Seitz on everything.
Josie October 14, 2012 at 08:14 PM
and what poor administrators make???????
Natalie Davis (Editor) October 14, 2012 at 10:21 PM
A warning: Teachers, even though they are public workers, are PRIVATE citizens. If you have a gripe against a teacher, take it up with that person or his/her superiors. If you name them and disparage them in a public place such as this, you place yourself in potential legal jeopardy. Please do not attack teachers or criticize them using their names in this forum. Those comments, as with those here previously, will be deleted if I see them.
Natalie Davis (Editor) October 15, 2012 at 02:24 AM
You'll have to do it elsewhere, unless you want to risk legal trouble. Here's a civics lesson: As far as media organizations are concerned, the first amendment applies to protect journalists' freedom to do their jobs. As far as citizens are concerned , the first amendment applies in terms of government-involved speech on a street corner. In print, it's a whole 'nother ballgame, because you're toying with libel. The person you wish to ruin is a private citizen. Just because you say you have a just beef doesn't mean you do. (I have no idea, just saying.) Let's say she did nothing wrong. You should just be free to trash her professional reputation in public and in print? No. The First Amendment does not protect revenge and retaliation. If she were an elected official or the superintendent, which are considered public figures, that would be different. Public figures know they have to take their lumps; it goes with the territory. Not so with private citizens. Does all this make sense to you? I really hope it helps you understand. If you have questions, please feel free to write me: natalie.davis@patch.com.
VietNam Vet October 15, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Yes Diane, I served 2 tours voluntarily in VietNam and would do so again because I strongly believed in this country, not so much anymore. This country has now become a total disgrace to those of us who once fought for it, and the people today have become money grubbing pigs and thieves like your boss speitz. I don't begrudge anyone of making a decent living, but there are way to many that are making a good living off the taxpayers but are still crying for more, and have no compassion for the people who pay their salaries. This kind of behavior needs to stop, they are taking money from citizens who worked very hard for it and because of the economy, just don't have it anymore to give. Put yourself in their place, it comes down to whether they pay the taxes or the mortgage to keep a roof over their heads, with the price of gas and heating oil today and the rest of the bills their soc.sec. checks don't go very far anymore. We all have to make a choice today, pay our taxes or be thrown out in the street, which would you choose? Something has to give and we have to take a stand somewhere. The school buget in this town is out of control already and has to stop. I as one of the seniors in this town worry for many of us who are barely making it anymore. My wife and I are going to be married 40 years next march and we haven't been on a vacation in many years. In 2005 my wife and I went away for a week, the first in 30 years. No lie!!!
VietNam Vet October 15, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Kevin, I couldn't agree with you anymore. You said a mouth full I applaud you for that.
VietNam Vet October 15, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Steve, both Mancuso and spietz should both be thrown out.
Diane Campbell October 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM
I can't be a part of this conversation on this page any longer since it has taken such a negative turn but just two things: I wanted to clarify that I don't work for Seitz.... I work with Seniors and thank you for your service to our country.
steve revette October 15, 2012 at 01:35 PM
So Natalie am I allowed to use initials or is that against the rules too. It's actually kind of funny I wish the so called teacher would take me to court for SLANDER. I won't even need to hire a lawyer considering I have over 20 witnesses including other teachers who openly admitted that she was out of line and told her point blank that she owed me an apology. I wonder if people in the private sector can do things like that to people and keep their jobs. I don't even know why I wasted my time asking that question.
Natalie Davis (Editor) October 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I am not an attorney. Ask one to give you legal advice on how to proceed.
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April October 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Steve, You're a good person with a good heart. Try not to be so angry and move on with your life. You've graduated and no longer need to deal with that teacher. I know you had a lot of wonderful teachers at PHHS that truly cared about you. You may not realize this, but they did more for you than you'll ever know. Take a step back, brush yourself off, and move on my friend.
steve revette October 23, 2012 at 02:53 AM
L, You're right I am a good person with a good heart. Also if you new the effects of everything that happened you may change your opinion. While I don't have to deal with the teacher personally I do have to deal with my friends and the kids I grew up with many whom I've known for years who look at me quite differently now. You seem like you know me personally though L. Are you a former teacher of mine or just a friend? You don't have to answer on the form you can send me a message.
VietNam Vet November 16, 2012 at 07:38 AM
These teachers still complaining about more money and respect, well they haven't learned yet that if you want respect, you must first give it. So cry me a river!!!
steve revette November 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Vet some of these people do not know the meaning of the word respect while others are go above and beyond the meaning of respect. Irony is that I was in special education for English all the way up until my 18th Birthday and ,saying I HATED IT is a huge understatement, The Two teachers who I feel showed me the most respect were my 9th grade special Education English Teacher and the very teacher in this article Who told me that I was a good student regardless and that end of the day nobody cares whether or not you were in special ed.
steve revette December 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Hey Liz I reread your comments about celebrating. Maybe you can educate some of the Teachers about what you should celebrate because I can name a couple who obviously are clueless about what you and do celebratet. I agree with you we should celebrate progress and the good things people do. But make sure you remind your co workers that you're celebrating the kids progress and not celebrating something else. Also I hope that if you're celebrating with your students you give them ALL the opportunity to attend.

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