We are residents and taxpayers of the Town of North Hempstead and proudly have children who attend the Herricks Union Free School District.
During the past year, we remained on the sidelines observing from afar the back/forth between the Herricks Teacher’s Association and HUFSD.
We stayed neutral, trying to understand both perspectives, at least based on available and/or reliable information.
It is now 15 months since the Contract expired; another school year and the Herricks Teachers remain without a contract.
Our curiosity has now become a serious concern with the HUFSD’s ability to secure a contract for our invaluable teachers. Admittedly, we likely know less about the negotiation process as the terms remain under the radar and questions are met with the “standard” response of the inability to discuss on-going negotiations.
We feel a sense of pride when HUFSD publishes our academic/school standing among districts, albeit with significant reservations as these rating systems are not based on rigor or empirically validated data.
Nevertheless, the families of the HUFSD know that the mortar of our children’s academic success remain the front-line teachers, teaching assistants, psychologists/social workers and staff at each respective school.
They spend six, seven and eight hours with our children on a daily basis for approximately 10 months. These dedicated and talented professionals, along with the devoted parents, make up the team that create the foundation for future success.
It is inevitable that the absence of a contract will lead to decreased morale and perception of not being appreciated which will then trickle down to the students. It is a fact of human behavior that when one perceives being devalued and/or unappreciated, this translates to altered work performance. This is undeniable across professions.
We can no longer simply sit idly by, remaining silent hoping that our Herricks Teachers receive a contract. We must hold our Board of Education and district accountable, demand transparency and be part of the negotiation process rather than allowing yet more time to expire while being reassured of our place in an academic rating system.
Kostas A. Katsavdakis