TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – As a new school year begins, about a quarter of the public school districts in New Jersey are still working on new contracts with unionized teachers.
141 districts are still at the bargaining table. 28 of those districts are in our area. 11 in Camden County, 10 in Gloucester and 7 in Burlington County.
Frank Belluscio with the New Jersey School Boards Association notes that, since teachers cannot legally strike in the state, parents need not worry about class disruptions.
“If a new agreement has not been reached, the old one remains in effect,” Belluscio told KYW Newsradio. “So that means that the teachers are guaranteed their salaries, their benefits and any protections that existed under the previous contract.”
Health care and wages are top issues at the bargaining table.
But economic conditions continue to press on school districts from one end of the Garden State to the other.
“State aid, essentially, has been flat or has not grown much since the Great Recession,” he said, “and at the same time, districts are dealing with the 2% tax levy cap. So the revenue from local property taxes is very restricted.”
Both Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney have been criss-crossing the state pushing their own versions of educational funding reform.