BY ADAM LUCENTE
As the academic year heads towards winter break, several teachers are discontent with the amount of dialogue they have with the school board. This was apparent at the latest Board of Education Meeting for the Ramapo Central School District, which took place Tuesday night.
As the board opened up the floor to the public, a few teachers went to the podium to discuss this matter. Bill Ballerine, the Ramapo Teachers Association Chairperson of the district liaison committee and a physics teacher at Suffern High School, was first. Mr. Ballerine lamented the board’s alleged undervaluing of dialogue with the RTA. He said “This year, despite having worked out a calendar for the year with (Superintendent) Dr. Adams in advance, the committee has met only once out of three scheduled meetings,” citing a past meeting cancellation as an example.
According to Mr. Ballerine, the committee has been trying to discuss a glutton of important issues with the board for the past 16 months, including security, crosswalks, CPR training for teachers, technology issues and the district’s testing policy. He concluded “This administration’s cancellations and outright disregard for both the members and the aims of the committee are so very disappointing.” His speech was met with resounding applause from the dozens of teachers in attendance.
The final speaker, John Canty, a father of several children in the district and a teacher at SHS, likewise denounced the board’s perceived behavior. Citing specific examples of the board’s refusal to meet with teachers, he said “You are the first board in my 20-year career that has refused to meet with their teachers.” According to Canty, the only way to discuss issues with the board is at the public board meetings, a trend he finds “disturbing.”
He ended his speech with the following: “Thank you. I enjoy our pseudo-conversations and I look forward to the next time we get to chat” and subsequently received a standing ovation.
Students may be happy to begin winter break, but teacher discontent seems poised to linger on.