The community and educators picket at Woodcliff during contract negotiation


Tina Duoibes, Editor-In-Chief

As it stands today, teachers, counselors, social workers, and therapists have been working during a pandemic without a contract from the administration for 90 days. Negotiations at the Woodcliff administration building occurred this evening with the EGRPS Board of Education and district administrators. The community along with teachers, counselors, social workers, and therapists picketed with homemade signs outside the room where the negotiations were in progress. Many wore the color red in solidarity with educators.

“It’s because of all of you. Kids and families and our community and our colleagues,” Breton Downs teacher Stacey Szczepanski said. “We give every single day and we want the same support as we give you from our administration. Not having a contract for 90 plus days does not show that.”

Szczepanski along with Middle School teacher Peter Miller, who declined an interview, were influential organizers of the event. Both spoke passionately about the district securing funding in the budget for educators and granting them a fair contract. 

“The negotiations have been dragging on for a long long time,” High School teacher Anne Lagrand said. “It does not seem as so there’s a lot of negotiations and compromises taking place. We are asking for a very fair contract and we feel as though our voices are not being heard.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are having an increasingly difficult time grappling with teaching conditions on account of the current hybrid learning plan and navigating technological issues. Besides, due to proper funding from the state government and community support, it is hard not to believe that there is room in the budget to give educators the fair contract they deserve.