Two dozen coaches in the Princeton Public Schools system say they will not do any planning, coordinating or supervising or training of student athletes, and will not run any summer camps or leagues this summer because teachers do not have a new contract with the district.
The letter, which is being sent by coaches this week, says the coaches will not volunteer their time this summer and will only begin activities on the start date outlined in their contracts. Teachers are working under the terms of their old contract until a new contract is approved.
An eleventh grader attended the school board meeting on Tuesday night and begged both sides to come to an agreement for the sake of students.
Following is the full text of the letter coaches are sending out this week:
Dear Parents and Athletes,
After more than a year of negotiations, PREA members remain without a contract. We, the coaches listed below, are dedicated to continuing with our current job actions until a fair, equitable agreement is reached with the Board of Education. To date the Board has not offered such a contract, and, therefore, we must inform you that this summer we will not be working hours for which we are not compensated. As PREA coaches we will not volunteer our time to engage in any planning, coordinating, supervising, or other involvement with summer camps, leagues, practices, scrimmages, conditioning, or weight training sessions until the start date of our contracts on or about August 10th.
In 2010, we the coaches, along with all PREA staff receiving stipends, voluntarily gave up our negotiated pay increase at the request of the Board in order to help the district through a tight fiscal year. This was done despite the fact, as you know, that we spend hundreds of hours beyond the contractual bounds of a given competition season – all of which is time for which we are not paid. And yet the Board of Education is now insisting on zero increase in the stipends we receive – no increase for this year, and no increase for the next four years! In light of significant drops in take-home pay over the past three years and a sense of disrespect from the Board for the extra work that we do and the sacrifices we have made, we will not continue to donate our time during the summer months.
We all love what we do – especially the opportunity to work with our fine young people in a fantastic school and in a community that has always supported excellence in our schools. And we are proud of the fact that our programs have ranked at the very top of scholastic sports in the state. But we are also facing a very difficult economic reality and a frustrating work environment. Many of us are raising families of our own and must deal with childcare costs in order to make ourselves available to work for no pay. Thus, we are unified in our conviction that we will work to the specific contours of our coaching contracts and no further until the Board recognizes our dedication and agrees to treat us fairly.
If you feel as we do, that we deserve a fair increase in our stipends, and that the loss of our usual summer programs – brought on by the Board of Education’s intransigence on this issue – is a tremendous cost, please express your opinion to our superintendent and members of the Board as soon as you can.
Thank you very much.
Dan Van Hise