In a show of solidarity for a new contract, more than 30 teachers and members of the teacher’s union attended the Cedar Grove Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.
Although no teachers commented publicly, one teacher, who did not wish to be identified, said the teachers were at the meeting to show unity because they do not yet have a contract.
“The teachers just want to see what's going on in the schools,” said Cedar Grove Education Association President Christopher Cannella.
“It's always good to have the teachers attend meetings,” said Cedar Grove Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Polles. “We have a very good staff and it's good to see them involved at a board level.”
Since their contract expired in June 2011, the teacher and board has been involved in negotiations, but no agreement has been reached.
Since that time, the union, which represents the district's teachers, therapists, counselors, therapists, psychologists and social workers, has been working under terms of the previous contract. After failing to come to terms through collective bargaining, the two sides have negotiated through a mediator in recent months.
“We are still negotiating and are scheduled to meet with the teacher's association next week,” Polles said. “Both groups have been working together and I believe they are very close in settling.”
Cannella concurred, saying, “Hopefully we will be able to come to an agreement soon.”
The next negotiating session is scheduled for Oct. 17.
In other news, the board:
• Approved a corrective action plan following a 2011-2012 audit by certified public accountant Paul Lerch.
The presentation focused on two main issues — high school athletic collections being deposited in a timely manner and an unpaid $232,000 from the state for a bonded school project from the 2001-2002 school year.
The administration has been diligent and needs to continue to try to obtain a definitive answer from the state, said Lerch.
“At some point if we can't satisfy the receivable balance we are going to have to fund it at some point,” said Lerch.
“Hundreds of hours go into this process,” he said. “You have to be proud the administration is doing such a good job, its rare for a board to receive such few comments.”