By W. Homer Axford
Teachers start school year without contract
A new school year will start this week, and unfortunately for Bayonne teachers, they are again without a contract. They will be expected to care for our children and teach them at the highest level of excellence even though they do not know what their future holds.
The greatest trick the Davis Administration pulled during its early months in office was to not fulfill their promise to the Bayonne teachers of a long term contract. Instead, at the last minute, Mayor Davis swapped out what he promised with what the previous administration offered. It was essentially a one year deal, and it was jammed down the teachers’ throats and Davis pounded his chest in victory. Davis then raised taxes 3%. I guess the moral of the story is that Davis lied to teachers and to Bayonne residents: he said during the campaign that the teachers could be given a long term deal without a tax increase; the truth was they couldn’t even be given a one year deal without a tax increase.
What appeared to be a victory for teachers in electing Davis is finally being seen for what it is — a farce. Now Bayonne teachers will have to deal with the prospect of an ever-growing budget deficit and a Mayor who throws money at everyone but them. Oh yeah, then there is the issue of the School Board Election. Instead of union leaders having to negotiate with one individual, the administration, they will have to negotiate with 5 new ones, the newly elected board members. When it is all said and done, the teachers may never see a deal longer than 3 years (School Board Trustee Term), ever again. Trustees will use the contract issue for their own political gain, just like in every other town in New Jersey.
We find it shameful that our dedicated educators were used as a pawn in the last municipal election, and there is plenty of blame to go around on all sides of the political spectrum. But, it is starting to become more clear that the current outcome is the worst possible scenario for teachers going forward. Sure, the last administration failed to reach a deal with teachers, but that is a rarity. Since the 1970s, for the most part, Bayonne teachers have had good relationships with the Mayor’s Office. That resulted in fair contracts for them — for the most part, like we said…. With this elected school board, their future is uncertain, and Mayor Davis now has a pass, he just points the finger at the elected school board. Starting to see why he hasn’t endorsed anyone? I wouldn’t hold my breath to see if he does.
Board secretary’s steaming mad
The Bayonne Board of Education secretaries are a little angry. Like the teachers, they will be going back to work without any raises — well, most of them. It seems like there are a chosen few who will be getting large raises, without a change of job title or duties. Why are they getting the raises you ask? Well, because their family members, like board trustee Mary Jane Desmond, are making it happen, that’s why. Desmond’s sister and a few other connected secretaries will be the envy of all their co-workers when they start the school year doing the same jobs for more money. Guess the fight against nepotism and cronyism has ended…..
Speaking of the highly dysfunctional Bayonne Board of Education, what will happen to those Bayonne Board of Education employees who were caught illegally getting free lunches for their kids? Will they be starting work with hefty raises, too?