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Teacher: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

A BRMS teacher, and parent of two, asks the BOE to settle the contract.

To the Editor:

I need you to hear my letter that I emailed to the board of education on Monday, May 1, 2012. I want you to listen to my words and support us.

I am writing as a resident, parent of two young children and as a teacher in Bridgewater-Raritan. I grew up in Bridgewater and proudly graduated from our district. After college, when I began looking for a job, I knew I wanted to work in only Bridgewater. It seemed natural to want to give back to the district that gave so much to me.

People would always say to me, "How could you work in the district where your kids will go?" My response has always been the same. "Why would I want to work in a district that I wouldn't send my children to?"

When I began teaching, I loved working with and learning from some of my own teachers. They gave me wonderful advice, which helped me become the teacher that I am today. I have always been proud to be a teacher, especially in Bridgewater-Raritan.

When the state's perception of teachers began to change in recent years and suddenly we became the enemy, I always felt supported and appreciated here, until this year.

For the first time in my 13-year career, I find myself actually questioning why I am doing this; this is an awful feeling. I was feeling unappreciated by the government and now also by my employer. I have always gone above and beyond for this district. I serve on volunteer committees every year [most recently the redistricting committee], I run non-stipend clubs for students, give up countless lunches for extra help sessions, organize monthly donations from the teachers to various charities in our area.

I refer to my students as my kids. Often I have to clarify that I am not referring to my own children when I talk about my kids to other people. I do love what I do, and I have to remind myself I am in this for the children; my kids. 

This year has been an emotional and financial struggle for all of us. It has been difficult just trying to make ends meet to be able to stay in this wonderful district and give my children the fabulous education I know they will receive here. I have been working three jobs in order to make this happen and it is still a struggle. Even with a raise it will continue to be a struggle.

I hear all of the board of education members saying how great the teachers are and thanking us for what a great job we do, but actions speak louder than words. It is time to show us that you truly are thankful and respect the fact that we spend more than six hours a day working for this district and these students, taking time away from our own families to do so. 

Think about the individual people that are being affected by this continued disagreement between the B-REA and BoE and make the right decision. Settle a fair contract now.

Please tell me, how can I be assured my children will receive the same quality of education that I received from Bridgewater?

Sincerely,

Karen D'Aloisio

Metoo May 03, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Fear not, I have it on good authority the teachers in the two schools, Bridgewater-Raritan High School and Adamsville Primary School, which were both designated reward schools, will in-fact be receiving bonuses. In the style of Marie Antoinette, it'll come in the form of a piece of cake. Awesome...
grace maher May 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM
GMG The question here is why does the BOE not want to settle this contract? Why do they HATE the wonderful teachers and staff that help make BRRSD the wonderful place it is? Settle NOW for the sake of our kids!
BwaterDad May 03, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Grace, What makes you think the board does not want to settle the contract? Where in the world do you get the idea that the board "hates" teachers? Why does anything think that this is anything more than just a disagreement about numbers? It's a negotiation. The board is negotiating. Are the teachers negotiating, or are they trying to rile up the public to put pressure on the board?
Barbara May 03, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Bwater Dad You are right - it's a negotiation. My question is how is it a true negotiation when the BOE has imposed the State Health Benefits Program on the teachers/staff. I was under the impression that benefits were part of the negotiation process. Who's not negotiating here?
B-R resident/parent May 04, 2012 at 02:10 AM
If the BOE is imposing the state plan w/o putting this on the table, I would have to agree that it seems that "negotiations" are not happening. How is this legal? I must be missing something. I am really trying to listen to both sides.
Krob16 May 04, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Teachers have been paying for their benefits for 2 years now. They voluntarily opened their contracts 2 years ago and gave back 1.5 million dollars toward their benefits before they were even legally required to start paying. The BoE now has all of this "found" money due to teachers paying for their benefits and won't give any of it back to help offset that cost. It wouldn't cost the taxpayers a dime if the BoE gave them back some of their own money yet the board still refuses. It's no wonder teachers feel hated.
Mike May 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM
@Bridgewater Parent: Who said teachers should not pay for some of their health benefits? NJ 101.5? Get your facts straight before before you catapult any more propaganda. Within 3 years, many educators will be paying several hundred dollars per month for coverage (http://tinyurl.com/755etwa), in addition to paying 2% (Ibid.) more into the pension that the State has refused to fund (http://tinyurl.com/6pgvb76), despite the law, for years. For an average teacher (10 yrs experience, roughly $60K in gross income, close to a master's degree), that's about ten grand a year (not including classroom supplies that are teacher-funded), which is a reduction in gross pay of about 16%. Is that enough flesh for ya? And if you're going to insist on everyone contributing to their benefits (aren't benefits part of overall compensation? That's another thread...), then I insist everyone should be able to go to the bathroom when necessary and not have to wait for a bell to sound, AND that they get to participate in the same NJ disability plan that "the rest of the working world does" AND that dittoheads (http://tinyurl.com/nlrn5b) get out of the winger bubble now and then for a daily fact-check.
Metoo May 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Mike, it'll never be enough for these dim-witted, ignorant, tea-bagger, CC luvin wingnuts. They won't rest till the good suburban schools are changed for the worse. Then, they'll still blame the teachers.
Mike May 05, 2012 at 04:17 PM
When Bridgewater Parent's post disappeared, it took my response with it, apparently. Back by popular demand: @Bridgewater Parent: Who said teachers should not pay for some of their health benefits? NJ 101.5? Get your facts straight before before you catapult any more propaganda. Within 3 years, many educators will be paying several hundred dollars per month for coverage (http://tinyurl.com/755etwa), in addition to paying 2% (Ibid.) more into the pension that the State has refused to fund (http://tinyurl.com/6pgvb76), despite the law, for years. For an average teacher (10 yrs experience, roughly $60K in gross income, close to a master's degree), that's about ten grand a year (not including classroom supplies that are teacher-funded), which is a reduction in gross pay of about 16%. Is that enough flesh for ya? And if you're going to insist on everyone contributing to their benefits (aren't benefits part of overall compensation? That's another thread...), then I insist everyone should be able to go to the bathroom when necessary and not have to wait for a bell to sound, AND that they get to participate in the same NJ disability plan that "the rest of the working world does" AND that dittoheads (http://tinyurl.com/nlrn5b) get out of the winger bubble now and then for a daily fact-check.
BwaterDad May 05, 2012 at 11:03 PM
I'm sure there was a lot of demand. They just wanted to see that wonderful photo again. Is that really you? If so you look a lot like your hero Rush, especially with the cigar.
Barry July 20, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I've been paying into my own health insurance since day 1 - I have not sympathy for teachers who only now have to begin paying into their coverage. While they only have to pay a portion, I have to pay the full amount. Maybe you guys can show your sympathy for me, instead. Maybe, you'll want to subsidize my health care too? Let's not forget - nearly 80% of the entire school budget goes towards Union demands. I pay just over $13,000 in property taxes of which about $6,000 goes towards the school system. Of that $6,000 - about $4800 goes towards the Union demands. Only $1200 goes towards the mortgage, electricity, books, desks, security, etc... This ratio is way too high and yet, the Union wants more and more and more. Let's talk about - who is greedy. The Union does not negotiate for the sake of our children - they negotiate for the sake of their members and use our children as their personal shields against the parents to force tax payers to pay even more. Let's not forget, that the entire environment is for the kids - not just the teachers alone. And the Board is responsible to all parties - not just the teachers alone. The Board also has a budget to adhere to, if teachers get more - they have to take away from somewhere else - or - raise property taxes. 'Yea, but it's only $50 per house' one might argue. But the town, the county and the State all say the same thing. Now, it's $200 per house, not $50. Fixed Incomers can't keep up.

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