Leaders of the Ridgewood Education Association (REA) will continue contract negotiations with a slightly different pair of board counterparts.
The Ridgewood school board elected to keep as one of two negotiators for the contract talks, while bringing aboard former BOE president Michele Lenhard.
One half of the previous negotiating team, Bob Hutton, .
An eight-year member of the board, Hutton had that would be easier on taxpayers, stating salaries and benefits to teaches were the single largest taxpayer expense and needed to be controlled in the era of the "new normal".
Negotiations have at times been contentious since they began over a year-and-a-half ago. The last fact-finding session was held on May 17. A gulf still remains between the two parties despite months of mediation, sources said.
The previous teacher contract expired last summer and the school board made the "hard" decision to not budget any salary increase for teachers in the 2011-2012 school year.
Many teachers began showing their upset by not staying with kids to help after school and later.
In March they staged a public protest claiming they've been shown a and subsequently questioned the decision to fund a new science curriculum, among others.
The tension hit an all-time high in April with in a letter a decade ago for speaking out against teacher salaries and benefits during previous negotiations.
A 2 percent salary increase was , though teachers say it's been largely offset by new state laws that require they pay a greater percentage of their income into healthcare costs.
The school board also settled on Vince Loncto and Jim Morgan to head the finance committee.