Union Says Training Session Was A Cattle Call
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 • 12:24pm
PATERSON, NJ – Crowded conditions at Paterson Public Schools’ staff training sessions last Friday prompted visits by police and fire officials, according to the union that represents city teachers.
At LaNeve banquet hall in Haledon, a fire official came to check on whether the facility exceeded its capacity and found no violations, according to the union president, Peter Tirri, as well as an employee of the facility. At The Brownstone, Paterson police interrupted the training session to warn trainees to move illegally parked cars, Tirri said.
“It was a disaster,’’ said Tirri. “I don’t know what else to call it.’’ The union president said the rooms were the training was conducted were so crowded that it was not conducive to learning. One staff member compared the crammed spaces to a cattle call, he said. "It was unacceptable,'' Tirri said.
When asked in an email about Tirri’s complaints, school district spokeswoman Terry Corallo responded with the following: "We had to conduct training per the State’s requirement to have all teachers trained on the new teacher evaluation by June 30th. This is our last full day of professional development in this school year.”
She also said there were "420 attendees at the Brownstone and 720 at LaNeve’s per our sign-in sheets; 122 teachers participated who had not registered in advance as requested.”
Tirri dismissed the district’s assertion that some attendees had not signed up for the training, saying there was no reason for people to attend if they were not supposed to be there. The sessions were conducted by one of the district’s consultants, Colorado-based Focal Point, according to Tirri.
Friction between the union and the district has been high as the teachers are in their third year without a new contract.