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Ridgewood Teachers, Board Agree on New Contract

Agreement between union and school board could be finalized as early as Sept. 10.

After a , Ridgewood teachers may have a new contract deal hammered out in early September, according to multiple sources.

The school board's negotiating committee, consisting of , has reached a memorandum of agreement with the chief contract negotiators of the Ridgewood Education Association (REA), both sides acknowledged Wednesday.

"We are currently finalizing the details of the salary guides," Laura Grasso, chief negotiator for the REA told Patch. "Once these are finished the Association will ratify the contract."

The vote – expected to pass, multiple sources said – could happen in the next week.

"If we can get it done this week, we possibly may ratify upon our return to work on Tuesday [Sept. 4]," Grasso said. "If not, we will pick a date shortly following our return."

A school board vote cementing the terms of a contract could come as early as Sept. 10, the school board's next meeting.

Neither side would broach the terms of a confidentiality agreement to discuss details of the contract.

If approved, the written contract would run three years, the longest allowed by the state.

"I'm looking forward to settling this and moving onto the new school year with a fresh relationship with the teachers so we can begin the healing process," school board member Jim Morgan said Wednesday.

The previous teacher contract expired in June of 2011, though negotiations for a new deal began months prior. Officials would not detail how the upcoming contract would impact to the 2011-2012 school year, in which the teachers worked under the terms of the expired contract.

Signs of a fraying relationship came when in January. The educators then marched on 49 Cottage Pl. in April, demanding the board show more "respect" to the teachers.

The board had not budgeted a salary increase for the teachers in the 2011-2012 school year, while state mandates forced teachers to pay much more into their health insurance. In the current school year, teachers were budgeted a 2 percent raise.

This article was last updated at 12:53 p.m. Wednesday. 

joe! August 30, 2012 at 12:44 AM
So more money and benefits for average to below average teachers....Ridgewood continues to propagate this delusion that we have "the best schools in the State"....sure we do!! Get rid of Tenure, get some standards back into the classroom, actually fail students that don't make the grade, make students (and parents) accountable... and don't give into the whiney parents that come crying "you failed my little Johnny... you've ruined his self-esteem". Aren't you tired of everyone having to pass, everyone has to get a medal?? There are too many that not only want equal opportunity, they want equal outcomes too.
Dennis Martinez August 30, 2012 at 11:12 AM
My guess is the teachers got a little more of what they wanted and the taxpayers will reach deeper into their pockets. It will be interesting to see the results.
KenC August 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I don't think Ridgewood has a problem passing students "that don't make the grade". This is proven by the performance and achievements of our students in college and beyond. Our situation with the tenure system and "whiney parents" are societal issues, not unique to Ridgewood. You have made a good start expressing your point of view on this. If you feel strongly, I suggest you go further to influence others and encourage change in our society.
margaretsmith August 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Joel and Dennis get a grip!!....my daughter is an elementary school teacher in Ridgewood. She goes in early and stays until 6:30 and as late as 7PM...if/when she gets any gifts for the Holidays from parents, she doesn't run out to buy herself something..she goes to the Teacher Store in Hackensack and buys things that her students can use in class...She uses her own money constantly, to buy items for her class that the students can use and benefit from. She devotes a great deal of her own time to her students, whom she has a great affection for. She wants to see them "all" succeed. I believe I speak for all the teacher when I say that. I figure if you can spend $5 for a cup of coffee, 2-3 x's a day, you can spend a little more for a good education for your children. Seriously! Give the Teacher's SOME credit! Remember...good teachers and good schools....support your real estate as well. People buy homes in Ridgewood for the Schools, which are good because of the TEACHERS that work there!! Crappy schools....kiss your real estate goodbye!
jp1 August 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Why does this high school keep dropping in ranking if they are so good?
Felicia August 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I wish teachers at our elementary school had stayed at late at Margaretsmith's daugther! After a given contract, no concessions were made for working parents and their ability to get home by 3 for p/t talks. And I seem to recall seeing plenty of HS teachers outside the building until the bell rang in the morning, and racing the students to leave at the end of the day. Your daughter is what we need more of in our system! Here's hoping Jim Morgan didn't let the board cave!
Dennis Martinez August 31, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Margaret. Many of us took into consideration the quality of the schools when we moved to Ridgewood. At some point however there is a tipping point and while I fully support the teachers and schools, there isn't that much of a difference in the quality of the education from our school district in upstate NY where my son attended and we paid $5100 a year in taxes and the $18k in Ridgewood for my daughter....At my company we are barred from accepting gifts and it is not usual to work until 7pm and then do the long commute home. When I saw my daughter's gym teacher was making a base salary of $109k with pension and benefits and the summer off it is hard to sympathize that they are underpaid and overworked. Your daughter however sounds like a special teacher and I am sure you are proud of her.
barbara August 31, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Did someone notice that Ridgewood High School slipped from 20th place in the Best High Schools list to 28th place? Glen Rock, Wyckoff and Allendale all outscored Ridgewood. The proof is in the pudding.......tenure propagates complacency, especially in the high school where the projects that some teachers (not all) assign students are the same ones their older brothers and sisters had 10 years ago. New blood is needed which means get rid of tenure!!!
KenC August 31, 2012 at 05:45 PM
All these towns have tenure to deal with. If Ridgewood education is slipping more than neighboring towns, it is not because of tenure.
Bill Connor September 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
This comment is not appropriate in any way of thinking- It needs to be Pulled
Matt September 02, 2012 at 11:15 AM
The teachers of Ridgewood (and Bergen in generaly) earn far more than similar or better performing districts in other parts of the country with similar COL. But sure, throw more money at them.
KenC September 02, 2012 at 11:35 AM
"The teachers of Ridgewood (and Bergen in generaly) earn far more than similar or better performing districts in other parts of the country with similar COL." Matt, what are the names of these other districts? Just curious.
Ridgewood Mom September 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM
As if getting a lower number ranking in a New Jersey magazine means placing further behind in some sort of race, and deserving of some sort of lesser prize. Absurd. If the quality of Ridgewood's schools is dropping, which it is not, then it does not make sense to cut funding for them. Where funding does not correlate to performance, performance can not be adjusted by adjusting funding. But where funding does correlate to performance, the sensible action would be to increase funding in order to increase performance.
Taxpayer September 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM
NJ Monthly has statistical data to support their rankings...Ridgewood HS continues to drop in the ratings. We need to put our pride aside and face the facts. The quality of Ridgewood schools does appear to be dropping. I don't think funding levels are what need to be adjusted. Perhaps teachers, admininstrators and superintendant need to be adjusted.
Ridgewood Mom September 03, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Interesting. So Ridgewood's more experienced teachers, who were doing a great job before Ridgewood's NJ Monthly ranking began "dropping" (measured by prior rankings that were numerically higher), need to be replaced by new teachers who do not have any experience. ?

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