Teachers rally for new contracts but no agreement reached
HAMILTON TWP. -
Members of the Hamilton Township Education Association rallied outside one of their schools on Tuesday night, in hopes to reach an agreement with the Board of Education.
"So imagine someone like myself who has been here for 13 years and I am making less than a first year teacher," says Jeff Gildiner, a 6th grade math teacher at William Davies Middle School.
Gildiner is just one of the members on the Hamilton Township Education Association (HTA) who rallied outside the William Davies Middle School for a new contract this school year.
"We have people who have been here for 13 years making around $49,000 and because of that we have had almost 25 percent of our staff leave since October," says Patricia Fleming, who has been teaching for 25 years
Eric Aiken, Chairman of the negotiations committee, did not want to appear on camera, but told NBC 40 news that the board, "wants a fair contract not only for the association but also the community.
However, Fleming believes that in this community, teachers are bearing the brunt of the burden.
"We are going from a well known district to being well known for not having the best staff."
A change that is also alarming to parents, as September 5th, the first day of school, is just around the corner.
"They are now becoming very concerned because some of their children were expecting to have a certain teacher and now these teachers are gone.
Yet, Chairman Aiken says his concern lies equally with the township's tax payers, which is why he says the negotiations committee will not meet in the middle.
"We are the lowest paid districts in all of the county and the lowest in the state," laments Gildiner
But, what will happen if an agreement is not reached before the first bell rings?
"Teachers will come in at start time and leave at the end of their day contractual time of day. Rather than coming in early like we like to do or staying late because it's our passion."
Officials with the negotiations committee tell NB40 News that an agreement was not reached on Tuesday night and a mediator will issue a report based on the meeting.
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