Cerf angers school union, meddling in what some see as a strictly local dispute

By John Mooney,

Final or not, the decision set off another tempest in the Middlesex County district of 11,000 students and nearly 1,000 teachers, with the teachers union president last night pushing back against what she called the state’s destabilizing move and the equivalent of a state takeover.

“The district is in chaos,” said Donna Chiera, president of the Perth Amboy Federation and also president of the statewide American Federation of Teachers. “People are hesitant to even get involved. Nobody knows who is in charge.”


But Chiera wasn’t holding back last night, saying she would seek a meeting with Cerf but that the teachers themselves may have to take a stand. The union president said she had previously had a good relationship with Caffrey, but acknowledged there was little love lost now that Caffrey had been publicly criticizing teachers in the district.

“I feel a lot of this has become political, and she clearly has some political views the same as the administration,” Chiera said.

“I’m not talking walkouts or strikes or anything, but there may be some boycotts after school, things like that,” she said. “It feels like there is a divorce going on, and the staff are the kids.”


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