What to Know
- NJ school district that canceled classes on Monday after teachers went on strike reached a contract agreement with its educators overnight
- The teachers went on strike over issues including health care costs
- Details of the settlement will be reviewed by each of the parties and put forward for ratification vote, according to the teachers' union
A New Jersey school district that canceled classes on Monday after teachers went on strike over issues including health care costs, reached a contract agreement with its educators overnight after the one-day strike.
The Franklin Lakes Education Association voted to strike Monday morning, the state teachers' union NJEA said in a statement on its website.
"Without meaningful relief from the crushing cost of imposed health care contributions, current district educators cannot afford to continue working and prospective educators will not be willing to come to Franklin Lakes," NJEA's leadership said in the statement.
But by Monday afternoon, a judge ordered the teachers back to work on Tuesday.
The Franklin Lakes Education Association, which represents the teachers, said its 267 members were walking out after what they described as two years without a contract.
The union president told News 4 that both sides met briefly Monday morning, as teachers dressed in mostly black marched in front of the middle school.
The Bergen County district has four schools covering kindergarten to eighth grade and more than 1,100 students. The school year is scheduled to end June 21.
The Franklin Lakes Board of Education said it was seeking emergency court action ordering the teachers back to work. It also said it only learned of the strike Monday morning and initiated a reverse 911 call to notify parents. Any students who arrived at school were supervised by district administrators until they could be released to a guardian, the statement said.
However, on Tuesday, the Franklin Lakes Education Association and Franklin Lakes Board of Education issued statements announcing both parties reached a contract agreement.
“I am proud of my members for standing up for what is right,” Sharon Milano, president of the Franklin Lakes Education Association, said in a statement. “They demonstrated their resolve to be treated as professionals. We now look forward to returning our undivided attention to our classrooms and our students, which is where we would much rather be. I also hope that the settlement we reached will help to retain the incredibly talented and dedicated staff that we currently have working in the district, from whom each and every one of our students benefit.”
The Franklin Lakes Board of Education also issued a statement Tuesday morning.
"The negotiation of this agreement was a difficult process and was hampered by Monday’s illegal actions by the Union," the BOE said. "However, the Board, acting in the best interest of the students and the community it serves, agreed to meet with the Union on Monday night, and with the assistance of a super conciliator and the director of conciliation from the Public Employment Relations Commission, reached a tentative four-year agreement resolving all outstanding issues. The agreement is subject to ratification by the parties."
Additionally, the BOE went on to say: "The Board is prepared to move forward in the best interest of the school community and looks forward to the teachers returning to their classrooms."
Details of the settlement will be reviewed by each of the parties and put forward for ratification vote, according to the teachers' union.