To the Editor,
We are writing to express our disappointment that the contract negotiations between the Board of Education and the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) have failed to produce an agreement.
We support a fair, equitable, and sustainable settlement for the teachers; and now that the gag order has been lifted, we seek to understand precisely what the sticking points are in these negotiations. We are glad that the Board has shared details of the contracts settled with the support staff union (PRESSA) and the administrators’ union (PAA) as well as the latest offer made to PREA on May 4. Now we encourage teachers—both the PREA negotiating team and rank-and-file union members—to speak up and help parents understand what an acceptable offer to PREA would look like.
In addition, we encourage not only teachers but all members of the community who feel that there are untapped sources of funding—both within the district’s budget and in the greater community–to speak up now. There have been many promising but vague ideas floated as to how to bridge the gap between the Board’s offers and the teachers’ expectations: now is the time to share concrete, realistic suggestions.
We are pleased that the Board and the PREA have returned to the negotiating table, and urge them to continue to work towards a solution. It is our understanding that an accord can be reached at any point; there is no need to wait for the fact-finding process to play out. Time is of the essence because many people—students, of course, but also teachers, administrators, families, and the larger community—are being seriously and negatively impacted. We cannot afford to have this conflict drag on through the summer and into next year.