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The following is a statement regarding negotiations with the Cherry Hill Education Association (CHEA) read by Cherry Hill Board of Education President Carol Matlack at the Board of Education Action Meeting on September 29, 2015:
It is, and always has been, the desire of the Board to swiftly negotiate a fair and reasonable contract with CHEA. The Board reached out to CHEA more than six months prior to the expiration of the contract on June 30, 2014 to begin negotiations but CHEA was not ready to begin until May, a month prior to the expiration of the contract.
Since then, the Board has responded each and every time to address CHEA proposals. We have been willing to meet an continue to do so.
Though the Board was prepared, willing and hopeful that a settlement could be reached at our June 1st meeting with CHEA, the CHEA negotiating team walked out of that meeting and the state-appointed mediator present sent process to the next stage of the impasse proceedings.
We are now in fact finding, which is the next step in the process. The Fact Finding hearing was held on September 3 and at that time, both parties presented their information to the state-appointed fact finder. We are awaiting the fact finder's report and recommendations which are expected in early November.
Parents and students have expressed their displeasure that some student activities,such as the Halloween Dance at East, may not occur. The Board is also disappointed that some student activities may not occur due to the job action of some of the teachers. We believe in the value of these activities for our students. Activities that are run by voluntary teacher participation are by the choice of the teacher, even when the contract is settled.
Some teachers have made a choice at this point not to volunteer. That is their right to choose and the Board cannot direct them to do otherwise. However, there is no language in their contract that prohibits them from participating in such student activities.
The Board's top priority is, and will continue to be, the education of the students of Cherry Hill. We remain willing to negotiate with CHEA to come to a fair and reasonable settlement.
Cherry Hill Public Schools elementary students will find new books about science in their school libraries, thanks to a donation from Subaru of Cherry Hill as part of their "Subaru Loves Learning" effort. Students at Kingston Elementary School, along with Kingston Principal Bill Marble, Board of Education President Carol Matlack, CHPS Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche, CHPS Director of Curriculum Farrah Mahan and CHPS Supervisor of Curriculum - Science Erica Price were on hand in the school library on September 29 as Subaru delivered the books. The 200 books are the result of team members from Subaru of Cherry Hill donating one new science book for each new Subaru that was bought or leased. The books will be distributed among our 12 elementary schools.