This is a notice from Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon urging his 400 members to show up at next week’s School Board Meeting to protest the exclusion of instructional aides and retiring teachers from the extra hardship payments authorized by Superintendent Roger León. Why are they supposed to wear green clothing? Because León, says Abeigon, is a Grinch.
We have all heard the story many times over. Supt. Roger León was born in a manger on Hawkins Street, attended Hawkins Street School, became a teacher, became an administrator, and grew up to be Newark’s Superintendent of schools. So, it begs the question, when did he become such a Grinch?
We all know the Grinch’s story too, a Dr. Seuss masterpiece. A grumpy hermit hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. But the Grinch had an excuse, he had a heart “two sizes too small.” What’s León’s excuse for denying per-diems any part of the “Let’s Go To Work” payments that were promised at this school year’s start of the year Complication (he calls it his “Convocation” but all of you know my word for it is more fitting).
The Superintendent’s words were strong and heartfelt. Everyone who was here sacrificed during COVID: virtual schooling, Saturday & Sunday food distribution to families, home visits, outdoor temperature checks in the freezing cold, I could go on. Everyone deserved something he said—their piece of the hundreds of millions in state and federal COVID Aid received by the district.
Yet, Per-Diem Aides and Teachers who needed it most were left out. Staff who put in for retirement before 12/31/2022 or left the district were left out too! Why? Did you not work during the worst of the COVID? Have you not been loyal to the district for 15, 20, perhaps 25+ years or more? Just as you’re about to leave, you received one last kick in the behind!
Superintendent León couldn’t thank EVERYONE enough during the Complication. It was a veritable OPRAH WINFREY of “You get a thank you! You get a thank you!” But that thanks was all he is giving you. Let’s help “The Grinch” realize that words and promises mean something, perhaps his heart will grow three sizes.
Show up to the next NBOE Board Meeting December 20th and WEAR GREEN to BE SEEN! Just in case you want to be heard, too, here is the link to sign up to speak. The Deadline to sign up to speak is December 15,2022
JOHN M. ABEIGON
PRESIDENT/DIRECTOR OF ORGANIZATION
NEWARK TEACHERS UNION LOCAL 481, AFT, AFL-CIO