The Jersey City Board of Education approved a renewed four-year contract that will give Jersey City teachers long-awaited raises. Under the new contract, teachers will receive a yearly salary increase of four percent until 2027. 

The Board of Education and the Jersey City Education Association (the union representing Jersey City’s district teachers) negotiated the agreement “in record time,” according to JCEA president Ron Greco, who spoke during the public comment section of Thursday night’s board meeting.

The new contract has been lauded by its advocates as fair and as providing a much-needed raise for teachers, especially in light of pandemic-induced staff shortages. Greco noted that the new contract will hopefully retain employees and “attract new people to the district” to make sure all Jersey City schools are fully staffed.

Several other public speakers expressed their support for the contract. Brigid D’Souza, an accounting professor, commended the teachers’ raises, saying, “If you want to appreciate teachers, pay them.”

Claims of Human Resources Racism and Favoritism Continue

Tensions surrounding allegations of racism and favoritism in district-wide hiring and promotion practices continued at Thursday’s meeting.

Madonna Morris, a longtime employee of the schools’ human resources department, phoned in to the meeting after receiving a last-minute Rice notice requiring her attendance. Morris reasserted her statements against human resources director Edwin Rivera, alleging “unethical procedures and discrepancies in the H.R. department,” referencing a recent civil service audit that “has hundreds of critical discrepancies” that “stagnate upward mobility for non-instructional employees.”

Several other human resources employees appeared at the meeting to defend the practices of the department against “baseless accusations of racism and harassment” and laud Rivera’s “exceptional leadership qualities.”

“I appreciate the director rallying the staff to speak on his behalf,” said Morris, responding to staff defenses of the human resources department and Rivera’s leadership. “Quid pro quo is still alive and well.”

Ryan Kilkenny was born and raised in New York. He graduated with a BS from Tulane University and a JD from Rutgers Law School. Ryan worked as an attorney for almost two years before switching careers and...