BRIDGEWATER -- The 1,360-member Bridgewater Raritan Education Association voted to approve $1.4 million in concessions today, a move that will save 16-full time teaching positions and help soften the blow created by millions of dollars in state-aid cuts to the Bridgewater-Raritan School District.
The BREA did not specify how the give-backs will affect teachers' salaries for the coming school year, but said the teachers and maintenance union agreed to waive $403,000 for tuition reimbursement. Teachers will also pay 1.5 percent of their salaries toward the cost of health benefits next year.
BREA President Steve Beatty said the move was necessary to preserve the quality of education in the district, but blasted Gov. Chris Christie for criticizing the union last week when it appeared contract talks had stalled.
“Our members care about our students and our community,” said Beatty. “It’s unfortunate that the governor’s cuts are requiring the people who work in public schools to make even more concessions than they already have in order to preserve as best we can our excellent public schools.”
“We reject the governor’s attempts to deflect blame for his devastating cuts onto our members,” said Beatty. “He could restore districts' funding just by reinstating the tax on millionaires and dedicating those funds to our public schools.”
Governor Christie can't restore the millionaire's tax - that would hurt the kids, specifically the kids of millionaires as well their wealthy parents.
But teachers have to take salary and benefit cuts or be scapegoated as "hurting the kids..."
This story is from Jersey, but it's coming to a school near you in New York State too once the fall-out from Paterson's budget cuts and failure to pay the districts their state aid hits home.
You can be sure UFT members will be asked to pay for health benefits, take salary cuts or 0% "raises," okay the firing of the ATR's and make other concessions to the city and the state or be scapegoated as selfish, mean-spirited grinches who are "hurting the kids."
You'll note that all of this is happening to schools and school staffs even as Bloomberg hands out $700 million dollar no-bid contracts to crooks and bonuses to city managers while the City Council staff get 4% raises.
Not to mention the billion dollar bonuses Wall Street is handing out with either TARP money or money made from the 0% interest loans Uncle Ben Bernanke and President Accountability have made available through the Federal Reserve ATM machine for Too Big To Fail Institutions like Goldman and Chase.
But we have to give out all these bonuses and no-bid contracts and salary increases to politicians and their staffs while cutting school budgets, cutting school staff, and forcing the ones still around take salary and benefit cuts.
Otherwise the terrorists win. Or something like that.
And most importantly, it's for the good of the kids.