Teachers in Cherry Hill Public Schools will likely enter 2015 without a contract as the Board of Education and Cherry Hill Education Association did not reach an agreement following a meeting on Dec. 15.
Board of education president Kathy Judge updated the status of the negotiations at the beginning of the board’s meeting on Dec. 16. The night prior, representatives from the board’s negotiations team and the CHEA met with a mediator for the first time.
Judge indicated progress was made during the meeting, even though the two sides did not reach an agreement. She indicated both sides have had differences on issues, but remain open to working together.
“The process of negotiations is rarely an easy one,” she said. “We are pleased that we are moving forward.”
Following negotiations in November, the two sides agreed to hold a meeting with a mediator. The New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission hired an outside mediator for the district to speed up the process. PERC was not able to send its own mediator because a large number of teachers’ contracts are being negotiated across the state.
Dozens of teachers from the education association attended the November board of education and extolled their fellow colleagues as a sign of unity. CHEA president Martin Sharofksy said the teachers attended the meeting so the board could “see all the faces” of the teachers they were negotiating with. There were no comments from any members of the public about the contracts at last night’s meeting.
Neither side has gone into specifics about which issues are still unresolved. In November, Sharofksy said there are “certain sticking points” the two sides still need to iron out.
There have been so signs of adversary between representatives of either side. The two sides are not scheduled to meet with a mediator again until January. However, Judge said representatives from both parties “could address some matters between now and January.”