District Posts FAQs on Negotiations

The questions deal with the offerings and the next step.

The district posted a document on its website Thursday that details questions that have been asked about the current negotiations between the board of education and the .

The document details the different offers from the board of education and from the B-REA, as well as the stumbling blocks since the negotiations began, the concerns over the recent and the state of staff morale.

Click on the document to read the answers to questions that have commonly been asked about the state of negotiations.

Do these answer all of your questions?

A BR Parent May 11, 2012 at 06:43 PM
teachB-R : You kidding me. Is it your position that the teachers would have made the concessions if the town residents were not so vehemently opposed to the BREA position ? I might have my sequence of events mixed up, but at the BOE sessions statements were made by the Board in the presence of BREA officers that the BREA had refused to open up their contract to look for savings.
Mr. Had Enough May 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Here are facts, the union negotiators are HS teachers who probably don't want the extra periods in their day. If they are at the top of the pay scale, they aren't getting a raise anyway so they have the time to waste, filling all the teachers heads with propaganda on what they are entitled to. And the money the BOE saved on health insurance, was it saved in the form of an increase that would have been implemented if they didn't change carriers? is the money going back to provide resources for our children? Either way, it seems like a win for either the taxpaying residents or the kids. Teachers, I feel for you, i really do but, welcome to reality, a place where it costs more to survive. Time to wake up, and if you don't like it, don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out, I know lots of unemployed teachers who would love your job.
Ladymb May 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
When the district needed more money, the teachers willingly opened their contracts and gave money back to the district. The BREA had offered to take pay freezes. The teachers aren't your enemy here. They're expected to do their jobs for the benefit of your kids, while their own kids suffer. And still, that's something they are willingly doing. Did you email your high schooler's teacher and ask why he was correcting his own Scantron? Was the machine broken? Was he reviewing the answers? Before assuming the worst, maybe you should get the whole story....and not just about that test. Are you sure the teacher heard the name-calling? Although they do hear and see much more than the kids expect, I don't know if they have super powers. That being said, what did you say to the child? Obviously, you are part of the school community since you were there. How did you fix the situation? Finally, I think you may be exaggerating that the teachers are talking about negotiations in front of the students. Teachers may be telling students that they aren't as available as they always have been, but that's also because a lot of teachers are working part time jobs after school. Maybe their schedule isn't as flexible as it was before. Usually, the teachers arrange their schedules around their students. Maybe they aren't able to do that as much anymore. Did you email these "whining" teachers or just save your comments for a public forum?
BRartist May 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
First of all teachers are special! And they should be treated with much more respect. Teachers are helping to cultivate and enrich the minds of the next generation that will be running this country. Teachers have one of the most important jobs. All the BR teachers are asking for is a FAIR settlement. Nothing else, just FAIR. I do not understand the mentality of 'I dont have, so no one else should either'. That is childish and immature thinking. The teachers are not lead to believe that they are entitled to everything under the sun, again they just want what is fair. And trust me every single teacher I know is more than thankful to have a job. And every teacher I know truely loves what they do. They would not stick to this profession if they did not love it. It is not an easy job. Most new teachers leave the profession after 5 years because it is not easy. Those that stick with it work damn HARD! Is a fair settelment too much to ask for?! BR teachers are asking for fair sttlement that will not increase the tax burden!! How can you argue that? Also money is going to books, programs, and bringing back teachers, and there is still money, LOTS of money left that could be used for a FAIR settlement. AND REALLY?! Teachers that got let go did not get 'stabbed' in the back. There was no promise that jobs would be saved if teachers took a pay freeze, instead teachers gave back $1.6 million. Which went to save many things in this district.
BRartist May 11, 2012 at 07:25 PM
False, BREA negotiators are not all HS teachers. There are people on the negotiations team from all grade levels, teachers and support staff, many of them are no where near the top of the pay scale. What the teachers are asking for is a fair settlement, that would not increase the tax burden.
teachB-R May 11, 2012 at 07:27 PM
A BR Parent: No, only Spongebob would give his paycheck back to his employer without being forced or hard pressed. The teachers of the state of New Jersey were being attacked from the Governor himself. This mentality that teachers make too much and cost too much and need to take a pay freeze or give up elements of their salary became the Republican cry. But still, the BREA could have stood its ground and said NO to making concessions. With a contract in place, which the BOE and BREA had previously negotiated the terms of that contract to be fair throughout the three years of that contract no concessions needed to be made. Due to the notion that education in New Jersey is a tax payers burden and that the teachers were to blame because of their huge salaries, the BREA did feel hard pressed and democratically voted to open up the contract, thus volunteering to give back money which contractually was theirs. So, yes there was pressure to make concessions... but these concessions were NOT forced or imposed.... like the changes recently made to the health, dental, and prescription plans.
Mr. Had Enough May 11, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Life isn't fair - its a job. The grass isn't really greener anywhere else. There is a book called "Who Moved my Cheese". It is about coping with change in the workplace - you all should get a copy and read it. Look, I have no problem with people earning livings. I have no problems with people wanting to pay their bills and not have to work 2 jobs. What i do have a problem with is all this bullshit that is flying. All the finger pointing, lack of accountability, lack of integrity and lack of respect for our children. I heard arguments from Schilder's raise to computers in the classrooms. I think that these tools are important because without the right tools, you arent teaching a heck of a lot. You are a teacher, you think you should be treated like you are special, I am a parent of your student, I am a tax payer, I am one of the many paying your salary. We are special, our kids are special, work hard, bring us back to a blue ribbon district, treat everyone from the AI down to the special needs that they all matter and work your ass off to eductae them at the levels they need to be, then, when the parents see results, I'm sure we would all be happy to stand up and pay more in taxes to pay you what you deserve. That is what fair is, earn your money, then get paid your money.
Bwater Mom May 11, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Mr. Had Enough, Thank you...but you better watch out! Metoo is going to come after you about your spelling errors because he/she doesn't have anything intelligent to say. You're right, the grass isn't greener, they're not more special than our kids OR us and everyone, teachers, administrators, BOE and parents alike, have ALL been pointing fingers and showing bad behavior...myself included. It's also not lost on me that the word "entitled" has now been replaced with the word "fair". I want what's fair for everyone...and that includes my kids, my tax bill, the seniors or people who don't have children in the school system anymore and the teachers as well. The bottom line is you can't squeeze blood from a rock. Period.
Toni May 11, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I'm not sure I understand why some people take the Education Association's bargaining so personally. Do you write a check directly to your child's teacher? Do your taxes not also pay for other municipal employees and services? Do you even know what your municipal employees earn, what their increase was, or what the tax hit is? Have you ever gone to a board, or township, meeting to voice your concerns over spending, budgeting, purchasing, etc.? Do you vote in local elections? I, for one, am grateful for the education my children receive in B/rR; especially for the price. I compare my taxes to those in towns around Bridgewater and realize how fortunate I am. I knew what it cost to live here when I moved here. I also know the cost of a private education, and what I'm actually getting for my money in this district. There is no comparison. I think the embarrassment is that this is still going on and has not been settled. Settle already! Both sides need to come to the table and stay there until there is an agreement. To those so vehemently opposed to what is being offered by either side, get yourself to a board meeting and speak up! Learn how your tax dollars are spent...not just on salaries, but in every aspect of district spending. Go make your voice heard, instead of hiding behind an anonymous post on a message board. Attend meetings and ask questions throughout the year; don't simply jump on the bandwagon at negotiations time. I'll see you there.
teachourkids May 11, 2012 at 10:21 PM
In response to you're "don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out" comment I would like to say this. As a taxpayer you knew what you were going to be paying when you moved to Bridgewater, if your taxes have gone up since you moved (and I'm sure they have) then I'm sure you have made note of this change. If you don't like living in Bridgewater and think the taxes are too high for the services you receive and the education your children get/got then just like the teachers, you have the choice to move. No one is forcing you to stay in Bridgewater and pay the taxes, you're choosing to. Don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out.
Bwater Mom May 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Toni, While, of course our taxes pay for "other municipal employees and services", they are not the ones assembling in front of our schools, in front of our children. They're not the ones crying foul. They're not the ones saying they're special and entitled. The Bridgewater Police Department is working down six men and wasn't it just announced in this publication that those positions won't be filled? Why is that? Could it possibly be because it's not in the darn budget??????? And I don't understand what point you're trying to make when you ask if people know what municipal employees make and what their increases are. Again, apples and oranges, they're not crying foul. And voting...I vote every election I can vote on. I also voted the school budget down two years ago...and hmmm, the Town Council overturned it. I agree that both sides should sit at a table and stay there until they come to an agreement. But, honestly, you shouldn't draw conclusions and assume that people are hiding behind anonymous posts, not voting and don't know where all of their tax dollars are going. And you really can't compare municipal employees to teachers either.
Kids First May 11, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I agree, Toni. I don't understand why the public views teachers as the enemy. BR residents should go to various township meetings. See how their taxes are really spent & then point fingers. If residents educate themselves, they will see that their money is being wasted in areas they never imagined. Tax money is spent on much more than teachers' salaries. And have you heard? In February 2012, the BOE voted to adopt bill A4394 which allows school board elections to be moved to November. With the move, the budget will not be on the ballot as long as it stays under the 2% state-mandated cap. This means that taxes may increase every year without your consent. Just under 2% a year adds up pretty quickly!
Katherine May 11, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Mr. Had Enough, why should I now feel bad for your situation? When I taught in the 80's and the economy was excellent I heard over and over that, "You can't compare the private sector with the public. That is like comparing apples to oranges." I have been living in "reality" and I find it very degrading that you use that phrase. I am a homeowner and, as a result, a tax payer. I work a second job already. Now I am suppose to compare myself to the private sector and just roll over? When things get better for you, I can just imagine that you will come to my home and offer me a few extra bucks.
Katherine May 11, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Mr. had Enough, can you please avoid the cursing. it doesn't make you look good, Your points may be taken more seriously if you keep your comments out of the sewer. Afterall, you are not 16 years old. Bwater Mom, I pay taxes and will never have children go through the schools. People often forget there are many of us that will pay taxes to the schools and will never have a child to send. So I can't say I feel too bad for people who's children are out of school.
Katherine May 11, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Also, Mr. Had Enough, the BREA is not proposing a big enough increase in salary for everyone to get a raise. I am one of the disrespectfull teachers that will get NO increase from what the BREA is asking. You need to know your facts.
Metoo May 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM
A good dose of reality would be to listen to Mr. David Weth, a HS AP Calculus teacher, speak to the BOE. Down load the audio file (direct link below) and go to the 42:20 mark. Let me know what you think? http://www.brrsd.k12.nj.us/files/filesystem/Audio%20Recording%20of%20May%208,%202012%20BOE%20Work%20Meeting%20-%20Part2of2.MP3
Kids First May 12, 2012 at 12:27 AM
The BREA is willing to negotiate a tutorial period at the high school; however the BOE is impeding negotiations by not budging on salary issues. $10.4 million in employee health care contributions over the next 3 years will more than cover the $5 million.
Kids First May 12, 2012 at 12:30 AM
No magic tricks needed for funding... all the BOE has to do is use some of the $10+ million that comes from health care contributions. -2011-2012: $1.4 million (could have been $2.4 million if the BOE had switched to state health care when the BREA wanted to) -2012-2013: $3.8 million -2013-2014: $5.2 million
Kids First May 12, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Great idea, Mr. Had Enough. Teachers should read a 15-year-old book and discuss it's deep meaning...and cope. Better yet, let's evaluate teachers based on the performance of every child they teach. Click on the link below to see how much that makes sense. http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2012/03/evaluating_teachers_based_on_s.html
Jason Schiff May 12, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Bwater Mom - While I agree that teachers should not be discussing these contract issues AT ALL with their students (if they are curious, they can read all about it here), I don't feel they are doing the kids harm (again, as long as they aren't using class time for it). After all, a majority of these students have seen violence and sex on television and in movies; I'd argue this is more alarming and harmful than seeing a few teachers stand outside of a building every Friday.
Jason Schiff May 12, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Thank you for posting this, Metoo!
Metoo May 12, 2012 at 01:58 AM
You're welcome Mr. Schiff.
Metoo May 12, 2012 at 02:03 AM
The purpose of the book is to distract workers from the obvious. The underpaid and the downsized are urged to just pick up and find opportunity elsewhere, without questioning the overall circumstance - as if God Himself stole the cheese all the whilst fat cat CEO's paying themselves astronomical salaries while exporting jobs to India and China. Here's a better ending: The two mice, Hurry and Scurry, who uncomplainingly went looking for new cheese, are now on their third McJob in three years. Hurry is now a barista at Starbucks. Scurry is a nurses' aide. They share an two-room apartment in Brooklyn with a couple of other underemployed mice, since none of them can afford rent on his own. Haw, the more enterprising of the two 'littlepeople,' has been temping for a while. The hourly wage is good, but he's worried, because he has no health benefits, and his 401(k) is in the tank. The grudging, resentful Hem, having been convinced by Fox News that the federal government is at fault, has joined the Littlepeople Militia. They are stockpiling guns and chemical fertilizer.
Mr. Had Enough May 12, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Well stated David Weth, I commend you. You earned your right to fight!
Toni May 12, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Bwater Mom, I find it curious that you assumed my post was directed at you.
teachB-R May 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Bwater Mom, When the budget is defeated by public vote, the town council has the obligation to set the budget dollar amount. And they didn't overturn the vote, they cut the budget by an additional couple of million... sorry I don't recall the exact number. Currently, the BOE could take a guaranteed 2% property tax increase annually without vote. If they ask for more than 2% it goes to a vote. If that is voted down, the BOE would have to settle for only the 2%. This Board is only asking for a 1% increase. Therefore, they are not maximizing the budget. Granted, the property tax complaint will come up again... but this is the policy put in place by the Governor.
You wouldn't have an increase in taxes. You just wouldn't receive a rebate of approximately $25. Most towns don't rebate their taxpayers!!!! just saying...
Maybe parents should stop sending children to school who learn the "R" word at home is acceptable to use!!! I am a teacher and a mother of a child who is cognitively disabled. The "R" word in my classroom is as bad as a curse word and is treated the same. You have no idea how the teacher handled the situation after you walked away. And to add to this topic, you have no idea how many PARENTS have sat across the conference table from me in the past eight years and used the "R" word at our parent/teacher conference. And you have no idea that when I call parents to tell them their child used that word, often the response is, "Is that it?" The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
I don't know one teacher complaining in front of children. Quite the contrary!!! My students are constantly complaining about what they "use to have" compared to now. Of course they are looking for the material things. It breaks my heart that I cannot afford to bring them all of the extras I spent my own money on. After all, you can't squeeze blood from a rock.
BREA INFO June 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM
The B-REA has posted a document entitled Truth: Setting The Record Straight - A Message To Parents From The Bridgewater-Raritan Education Association. Click on this link to view the article - http://b-rea.org/2012/05/12/truth-setting-the-record-straight/ WATCH VIDEO: See what people are telling the Board of Education – http://b-rea.org/portfolio-items/john-shanager/


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