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Settle Kinnelon Teachers' Contract Now, Resident Says

Board president says entities are still unable to reach agreement.

As the negotiating process for a new Kinnelon Education Association (KEA) contract continues, one resident urged the Kinnelon Board of Education (BOE) to settle with the teachers Thursday night.

"I see the lack of respect and the fact that, as a board, you are not valuing your education association because you're not settling their contract," Monarch Way resident Kathy Klein said.

Klein said she has watched her son go through the Kinnelon school system and has always been proud of the district. She said she has been fond of the way the district seemed to value educational decisions, that will positively impact the students, over decisions that will please the taxpayers.

But now, Klein said she is disappointed that the board has not agreed to the contract with the teachers.

The KEA and BOE have been negotiating for more than a year now. Since the parties continue to disagree, a report is being developed by a fact-finder, the results expected to provide a recommendation for how the BOE and KEA move forward with a new contract.

Throughout the negotiating process, some have been disappointed with the teachers' actions as well. Board members expressed concern over teachers only agreeing to stay the minimum afterschool extra help days required in their previous contract and some parents were disheartened after teachers did not volunteer to assist with the Kinnelon High School graduation ceremony last year.

BOE President Margaret Zybrick said Friday the board is interested in moving forward with the KEA on a new contract, but that there is a difference of opinion.

"The BOE would like nothing more than to settle the contract and move forward. The BOE has made what we consider a very fair, reasonable and fiscally-responsible offer," she said. "The Negotiations Committee has met serveral times with members of the KEA to move this process along with the ultimate goal of ratification. However, they have not accepted our offer and thus we are at the fact-finding stage."

Zybrick said the board does value the staff and hopes to be able to offer a contract that would be regarded as "fair," but financial considerations must be made as well, given the state mandated 2 percent budget cap the district must not raise its budget above. Under the state law, the cap can be waived, but only if the reasons for spending above a 2 percent increase are approved by voters in a referendum and then by a state education agency.

"We also have a responsibility to our community to adhere to this 2 percent cap," she said.

Blowhard October 26, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I find it amazing that a resident that does not know the facts about the contract or details about the demands on either side could go before the BOE and pass judgement and say their is a lack of respect on the part of the BOE. Quite frankly this resident is disrespectful. We all know negotiations are not public information. So please sit down and remain silent you would appear much more intelligent.
F October 27, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Blowhard maybe this resident doesn't know the intimiate details of this contract negotiation because they are busy working, you know the kind of work where you lose your job when you dont perform, and sometimes when you do. Our teachers wouldn't know about that world now would they. How about you dont tell us when to sit down and remain silent - when we residents are footing the bill we get to ask questions, even when we dont know every single detail - your job is to educate us as to why you deserve what you are asking for - and you havent done a good job yet
IZZY October 27, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Why is it this posters job to educate the public? If you have time to post a comment, you have time to read the contract online. I think the point is to educate YOURSELF and then intellegently ask questions instead of condemning one party based on heresay. That's the problem with our society, we have become so lazy that we would rather believe what is said through the rumor mill instead of forming our own opinion based on the facts. AND, yes, we pay for the schools through our taxes, let's be more diligent about what the teacher's are demanding vs. what is going to be lost toward our childrens' education to pay for those demands.
Robin October 27, 2012 at 02:30 PM
The problem is that the public is not ALLOWED to know the facts. The negotiations are SECRET. This is due to a clause in the current (expired but still binding) contract that says neither the BOE or KEA can discuss the fact unless they both agree. Who’s idea it was to put that in the contract I don’t know, but I hope the BOE is wise enough to get the taken out of the new contract. Not allowing the public to know what specific demands the KEA is making or that the BOE will not agree to makes it impossible for any reasonable person to take sides. The general information is that the KEA wants higher salaries then the BOE is willing to give (or can give under the 2% law).
Kinnelon Education Tops October 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Robin - As it has been reported numerous times, the contract is at the Fact Finding stage. This will be soon be made public and you shall soon see what you wish. There will be no "secrets" to hide... Don't make any assumptions on what you hear. Go by what you read....

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