Overnight Trips On, Despite Potential Teacher Job Action
Ramapo Ridge students will go on trips with other chaperones
Ramapo Ridge Middle School students will be going on overnight field trips this spring, in spite of a fear that circulated around the school last week that a lack of teacher chaperones might lead to the cancellation of the trips.
According to Assistant Superintendent Janet Donohue, the middle school’s administration was informed last week by the Mahwah Education Association’s job action committee that should no teacher contract agreement be met by the dates of the trips, unionized teachers would not chaperone them. The annual eighth grade trip to Gettysburg and sixth grade trip to Frost Valley are traditionally chaperoned by grade level teachers, though they are not contractually obligated to do it.
Chaperones are compensated for going on trips with students.
Donohue said the school’s administration was in the midst of working on a solution to “ensure the trips would be on,” when MEA members brought up the possibility of not chaperoning at last week’s board of education meeting. Teachers said then that the MEA would not force members not to attend the trips, but that not chaperoning was being considered should no contract be met.
At this Wednesday’s board of education meeting, Donohue announced that both trips “are on, thanks to a list of teachers, counselors, the school nurse and administrators who have volunteered to chaperone the trips.” Board President Tricia Shada thanked the members of the district’s staff who will be going on the trips. “Thank you to all of those who have put the kids first,” she said.
Mahwah teachers have been working under an expired contract since June 2010. Recent contentious board meetings have revealed that the sticking point in negotiations between the two parties has to do with setting the agendas at weekly after-school faculty meetings.
The two sides will not meet again to attempt to settle the contract until May 2, the first date available that a state mediator can meet with the two parties.