BAYONNE -- Twenty-one untenured teachers received notices with their May 16 paychecks that their contract will not be renewed for September due to a possible loss of $1 million federal funding, said school officials last week.
Alan D’Angelo, president of the Bayonne Teachers Association, which is the midst of contract negotiations with the Bayonne district, said he believes the move was intended to send a message to tenured teachers.
Teachers and the district are in their third year without a contract, and are too far apart to predict a settlement shortly.
School Business Administrator Leo Smith said the issue has to do with possible federal cutbacks due to sequestration, which requires automatic spending cuts on a federal level.
He said teachers who had been used as educational coaches on the elementary school level are being put back into classrooms, and pushing out untenured teachers. This is combined with the return of about 12 teachers from maternity leave.
“We are required by law to save their spots,” he said. “If there is a change in the federal funding issue, then we may hire some of the untenured teachers back. They would have first choice of refusal.”
At the same time as these notices are going on, the school district is hiring high school certified math and English teachers for use in elementary schools.
“Only one of our schools met the college ready standards on the last state school report cards,” Smith said. “We are mandated by the state to hire these teachers.”