I hope everyone is well. I wanted to send out a quick update on some old, as well as new items, we have been working on. I also want to comment on the referendum.
I would like to ask all BREA members who live in Bridgewater or Raritan to vote on the District Referendum. The voices of the people need to be heard on this matter and that happens through voting. I am not asking anyone to vote in a particular way. I do not live in Bridgewater or Raritan. I do not know everyone’s financial situation. I do not walk in anyone else’s shoes; I am just asking that everyone who is able to vote. I have my own thoughts on the topic as a teacher in the district for the last 23 plus years, and one way or the other it is time to make a decision on the direction of the district. Again, this should be a community decision, so vote for what is right for you as a resident and a staff member.
When voting, the first question is tax neutral. A person has to vote yes to the first question in order to vote on the second question. Please refer to the district website for further information.
Changes to the contract we have been working on since November include:
- TA’s working after school with IEP students, receiving the non academic rate per hour, as opposed to their own hourly rate.
- The bus duty, after duty time rate from .55 back to .60
- The non ESY summer rate for nurses to be added to the contract. The nurses have been earning their daily rate for 5 years, however it was not added to the contract.
- The bus aide positions need to be added to the contract. These became part of the positions available during and after COVID. The bus companies no longer have the staff in many cases to fill the few positions available.
The administration did not want to introduce new items before the new board was elected and seated, that took us into January. The board wanted to reconvene a negotiations team, Mrs. Gladstone is no longer a board member. In a meetingwith the superintendent on 3/6/23, I believe we came to an agreement that these items will be addressed over the next month. We will see this through to the end.
- Our yearly General Assembly meeting is being moved from the 3rd Monday in April, the 17th, to the 24th. I apologize in advance for the date change. At first, I noticed it was the day we are scheduled to return from Spring Break and was concerned about people feeling overwhelmed. As it turns out, I now have a family matter to deal with on the 17th. We will hold two virtual meetings, 3 PM and 4 PM. In addition, I will set up a meeting for later in the week for anyone who has questions. The administration is working with us and the 24th will be the BREA Monday for the four later primary schools. I recognize that our GA meeting will fall on a school meetingday for most others. Again, I apologize.
- As part of our negotiated settlement, we are working on some issues with the non athletic stipends listed in the contract. We have assembled a committee and sent out a Google form to anyone listed as a club leader or advisor. The goal is to create a criteria when a new club wants to be added into the contract. In addition, we are attempting to tier the existing clubs in an attempt to create more equity in pay amongst similar clubs in a tier. Please complete our Google form so we can have as much information as possible to improve the system. We are looking at the winter sports, at the MS, as well. Although the activities at the primary schools are run by individuals, along the lines of pay to play, we will make sure the primary schools receive the updated information, so if there is a club or activity someone would like to make a stipend position they can start the process with us.
If you have questions or suggestions please contact the following people and/or Chris James, Mark Heinbach or me.
- Primary schools – Laura Kress
- IKE- Kim Patullo
- Hillside- Lauren Schrenk
- Middle School- Anthony Silva
- High School- Erin Leigh, Greg Filipski, Michele Mammone, Mike Bittner
Constitution and By Laws
- The BREA is again, attempting to update our Constitution and By Laws. We need to be able to update some of the terms and rules to keep up with the changes in staffing we are attempting, as well as change job descriptions as we are no longer employing an office secretary. In essence we would like to make the association run more efficiently. The changes will be explained at the General Assembly meeting and emailed to every member. I plan on visiting buildings to discuss this and or anything else you may have questions about after the General Assembly meeting.
- Enrollment continues to decline. In the state as well as in our district. I have spoken to the administration about their plans to address the issue. Thus far, they believe that positions will be able to be maintained through attrition, however there may be transfers. This is something I am watching closely. I am checking in weekly. The administration should have more information and will be sharing their plans by the end of April. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated!
- The board is holding their second monthly meeting on 3/16, which is a Thursday, to start the budget process and a presentation on bussing for next year. If you want to hear more about the bussing situation you can view the meeting live. The link is on the website. We will keep people updated.
- If you are a coach or advisor to a stipend club and have an issue with pay and withholding on the March 15th check, or want to make changes in withholding for the June pay out, please reach out to me.
As always, thanks for all of your hard work.