SCOOP: Asbury Park Teacher Union President Advises Teachers On Lay-Offs

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This morning Asbury Park Education Association John Napolitani sent an email to all 400 APEA members regarding tonight’s Board of Education meeting. While New Jersey’s Open Public Meeting Act (also known as the “Sunshine Law”) requires that all public meeting agendas be published 48 hours before the scheduled meeting, the Board chose to withhold the agenda until late yesterday and, thus, withhold the information that 28 staff members will be laid off and some staff members’ contractually-mandated raises (“increments”) will be withheld.

The eliminated positions include science teachers, social studies teachers, speech pathologists, psychologists, etc. See here for the full list.

In the email, printed in full below (NJ Ed Report received multiple copies), Napolitani references the “significant amount of angst” caused by Superintendent Rashawn Adams’ recommendations that the Board vote to lay off 28 staff members and says there was no warning from the Administration. He notes that increments can only be withheld after progressive discipline, warnings, and due process; all will be treated as grievances against the Administration.

Good Morning,

I realize that seeing yesterday’s Board agenda caused a significant amount of angst for the entire membership. Please be advised that at no point in time, was the Association involved in ANY decision making on a reduction in force, increment withholdings, or any other matters as it relates to OUR Association members on this agenda or any other agenda under the current Central Office Leadership. For the record, the two predecessors ALWAYS kept the Association involved in ALL decisions, especially serious matters such as increment withholdings and a RIF.

With this said, without getting too detailed, as I will be continuing to give information, here is what I can state:

  1. Positions being cut are positions and not any particular person.
  2. Seniority and tenure ALWAYS MUST be adhered to for professional staff members. It’s the law.
  3. The current list of cuts should include retirements, but again, we were not advised because communication is zero.
  4. The Association will request an updated seniority list for staff.
  5. People in question of seniority will have access to NJEA Uniserv as well as legal for assistance if there is a dispute.
  6. Increments being withheld will be a grievance so please let Stephanie Kelly know.
  7. Increments being withheld MUST be with just cause and due process which is NOT the case here at all from our info.
  8. Increments being withheld MUST have progressive discipline and a warning, which does not seem to be the case.
  9. The last 5 digits of your social security number is your employee number so please check the agenda.

I realize these are very rocky times for this Association under the current Central Office Leadership. Our Association Leadership has been in “overdrive” dealing with the plethora of matters in the Asbury Park School District. I am requesting that if you see your number on the agenda, please contact Stephanie so that we can begin the grievance process. If you receive notification that you personally are being placed on a RIF list, please contact me immediately.

Together, we will continue our quest for a better school district even during these extremely trying times. Your Leadership Team is here for you in more ways than you know.

In Solidarity,

John Napolitani

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