Teachers at Atlantic Highlands Elementary School are working without a contract.  We have been negotiating with the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education for a year and have not been able to reach a fair agreement.  We want parents of our students and all community members to understand our situation and our frustration.

            At our first negotiations meeting, Board members praised our school and our teachers using words like “amazing” and “wonderful.”   In subsequent meetings, they offered us a salary increase that was well below the Monmouth County average of 3.1%.  Their words of praise ring hollow when they are unwilling to adequately compensate teachers for our above average work. 

            Teachers at Henry Hudson Regional School (a school in our tri-district) just ratified a contract that included a salary increase of 3.6%.  Atlantic Highlands teachers cannot understand why our Board thinks we are worth so much less than our fellow teachers at Henry Hudson.

            At the Atlantic Highlands Board of Ed meeting last Tuesday, our teachers addressed the Board outlining the programs, activities, and tasks we perform that are not in our contract, but that we perform because they enrich the lives of our students and enhance the community.  As we stated at the meeting, “These are not in our contract.  We do these because we are above average teachers.”  Along with these statements, heartfelt statements by other teachers and some parents were met by silence from the Board members.

            At the end of the meeting, after our teachers had waited for an hour while the Board met in closed executive session, we were not even afforded the courtesy of walking back into the meeting room before the Board declared the meeting adjourned.

            We are angry and frustrated.  We feel the Board of Education takes our above average efforts for granted and shows disrespect toward us in their actions.

            We are, however, professionals who refuse to let these feelings affect the above average education that students receive at AHES every day. 

            We implore parents and community members to become informed and involved.  Talk to teachers, talk to Board members, talk to your friends in other communities about their schools and what their teachers do.  Atlantic Highlands teachers are confident that we are above average in all things except salary. 

 

The Atlantic Highlands Education Association 

           

 


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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...