The Kearny Education Association (KEA) has begun their second school year without a new contract, and they are making sure the board of education is fully aware of their unity and determination to settle a fair deal.

In mid-September, the members of the KEA inundated the board of education meeting. With a room capacity of 49 people, the board asked the KEA members to leave. When the members refused, the board preferred to cancel the meeting rather than relocate to a larger room.

The board’s actions come as no surprise. In July, a scheduled mediation session was cancelled by the board at the last minute because board members were no longer available. That meeting is now rescheduled for Sept. 26.

Middle school teacher Christine Costello expressed the members’ frustration. “We don’t want to give up back to school night. We deserve respect to bring our passion back.”

The board’s decision to cancel the meeting came on the heels of their decision to prevent a journalist, John Heinis from the Hudson County View, to videotape the meeting. Heinis was told by the board attorney that the board required notice before any taping could take place. Heinis was surprised by this decision. As a reporter, he has covered many board meetings in Hudson County and filmed them without issue. He addressed the board and told them it was important for the public to hear the actions of the board meeting. He also told them that it was a poor policy for any public entity to have, especially since there was no reference to any such policy on their website.

One parent spoke on behalf of a group of concerned parents and said the contract crisis had gone on long enough. The board of education had recently passed a resolution on immigration and education that the parents commend, but the decision to treat educators so poorly and with such a lack of respect left parents perplexed.

“It doesn’t add up,” the parent told the board. “Settle the contract!”

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