Manalapan/Englishtown: Teachers picket school board

More than 150 teachers — carrying signs with slogans such as “No contract, still working, always caring” — protested outside Manalapan-Englishtown Regional Schools’ Main Street administration offices Monday, urging district officials to settle contract negotiations as soon as possible.

Among sticking points in the negotiations are salary and benefits, said teachers of the Manalapan-Englishtown Education Association, who have been working without a contract since June.

But district officials, who did not wish to discuss specifics Monday, said they’ve offered a fair settlement that teachers won’t accept.

Association President Ken Weber, a teacher at Pine Brook School, said in his recollection the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade district has settled a contract only once before it expired in his 30-plus years working there.

“I’d like someone to explain why it’s fair to offer teachers in Manalapan the second lowest increase in the county,” Weber said before the demonstration, which preceded a fact-finding session at administration offices Monday night. “If someone can explain to us how that’s fair, we’ll take a look at it.”

The district is offering teachers below the 4.64 percent average 2007-08 salary increase in Monmouth County, Weber said, although he would not divulge what the number was. He was flanked during the protest by New Jersey Education Association President Joyce Powell, who attended the rally to lend her support to the association’s cause.

(Just for the record, I got a raise of 3% and was very happy)

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