Parents, Mayor Diaz Join Community Push to Break Impasse

PERTH AMBOY… Parents and the mayor are joining Perth Amboy educators in calling on the Board of Education to bargain a fair contract with the union representing the district’s staff. Educators have been working without a contract for a year, according to Perth Amboy Federation-AFT union president Patricia Paradiso, a third-grade teacher.

Mayor Wilda Diaz has been meeting with teachers to plan educational programs and said some are “disheartened” by the board’s refusal to bargain with them. “The board is showing a lack of respect for the professionals who are teaching and caring for our children,” Diaz said.

Iram Shah is the vice president of the Shull Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization and the mother of a fifth-grader. Her older son graduated from Perth Amboy High School in 2015 and is currently in a pre-dentistry program at Rutgers. “Parents are very supportive of the teachers because they know they are doing their best,” Shah said. She pointed to large class sizes and comparatively high numbers of special education and English language learners in district as challenging factors for teachers to contend with.

Paradiso noted that the board is responsible for public funds and questioned the propriety of contracts for highly paid district personnel such as superintendent Roman with lower costs for health insurance than what educators pay. “New contracts for Dr. Roman and district management are on the board agenda for tonight,” she said. “Will they continue to offer management less expensive health insurance than they do for teachers and lower-paid district staff?”

Mayor Diaz also called it “telling” that board members are seeking to move the board election back to next April. “More parents are going to show up and vote in the general election in November, when the Presidency is on the ballot,” she said. “Keeping the election in November will allow more Perth Amboy residents to have a voice in who sits on the board and elect members who will be responsive to the needs of the students.”


The Perth Amboy Federation-AFT represents more than 1,400 educators who work with students every day. 

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