The leaders of New Jersey’s teacher unions characterize their fervent opposition to choice-based reforms as being steeped in their commitment to classroom excellence. But by opposing educational options that would allow parents to choose the best school setting for their children, they often acknowledge the threat school choice presents for the traditional public school monopoly that they control. In this monopoly setting, they can command expensive employment benefits that few in the private sector could hope to enjoy.
Here are just a few common perks collected from current New Jersey teacher union contracts:
Teachers shall be granted sick leave for illness for fifteen days in each school year. Teachers will be granted three days leave annually for personal reasons without explanation….
After six occasional absences (exclusive of personal, bereavement, administrative excuse, jury duty, approved vacation and approved leave), the location administrator shall schedule an informal conference with the employee to discuss his/her attendance, related issues and advise the employee that the he/she has been verbally warned. Employee may request and have a union representative present.Newark Public Schools Attendance Improvement Plan, 2009
At the time of retirement, each accumulated unused sick leave day shall be compensated at the full negotiated per day rate even if the employee is a part-time employee at the time of retirement. Cherry Hill Teachers Contract, 2008
The length of the work day shall be equal for all teachers and para-educators as follows:
6 hours, 45 minutes for Elementary Schools, 7 hours for Middle and High School….
It is understood that at least twenty-five minutes of the above mentioned time shall be reserved for periods before the entry of students and/or following their dismissal. On Fridays, all teachers and para-educators shall be permitted to leave five minutes after the latest designated dismissal time for students.Hackensack Education Association contract, 2009–12
Professional days for representatives of an Association to attend state and national conferences and conventions may be taken. Wall Township Education Association, 2007-10
The Board of Education agrees to cooperate with the Association in arranging after-school courses, workshops, conferences, and programs designed to improve the quality of instruction. Teachers shall determine for themselves whether such activities are applicable and worthwhile. Attendance shall be voluntary; however, in-service credit may be earned under the prevailing rate. Trenton Education Association contract, 2010
$27,000 per year shall be allocated for tuition reimbursement for full time clerks and full time aides who are matriculated in undergraduate accredited degree programs leading to both a Bachelors degree and teacher certification. Newark Teachers Union Contract, 2010
There will be no administrative duties for anyone who teaches three classes in a day. Professionals having more than two course preparations per day shall be compensated an additional $800 for a full year course. Staff asked to cover classes thus losing their preparation periods for the day, shall be compensated at a rate of $50 for each 80-minute class period.” New Brunswick Education Association contract, 2007-10
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