Perth Amboy teachers reach contract agreement, students petition for better communication

PERTH AMBOY – An agreement in principle has been reached on a three-year contract between the Perth Amboy teachers union and board of education.

The agreement, which comes after more than a year of negotiations, protests and petitions from parents and students, was announced Friday in a release from Patricia Paradiso, a teacher at Robert N. Wilentz Elementary School and president of the local union.

Paradiso said details on the distribution of the raises, dating back to July 1, 2018 when the contract expired, are still being worked out so educators’ formal vote on approval may take place in September.

According to Paradiso’s release, the union is proposing salary guides to retain expertise in the district.

“We need to fundamentally rethink how we manage the education of our students in Perth Amboy by valuing the voices of students and educators and rewarding experienced educators in the salary guides we work out collaboratively with the district,” Paradiso said.

She said the distribution of raises on the salary guides is subject to the collectively bargained agreement between educators and the district.

“We hope this agreement will be fully executed and that district management sees this as a starting point for listening to all the voices in our community — students, parents and educators — who have important perspectives about moving the district forward,” Paradiso said.

paf-062119-260During Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, five students spoke
about a student petition calling for student representation in district decision making, according to Donna Tartza, a dual language teacher and district union representative.

The Change.org petition called “Amboy students fight for a better future” and created by Kiara Fernandez calls for a “student representative body” to address a “huge lack of communication” in the district. As of early Friday afternoon, the petition had more than 1,900 signatures of the 2,500 being sought.

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