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Kathy Bowers address to the December 10, 2007 BOE Meeting

I am proud to represent all the staff members of the Wyckoff Education Association as their Co-President.  I would like the entire staff to stand and be recognized for the outstanding job they do, day in and day out educating and caring for the children of Wyckoff.

We are tired of continuously being attacked by WHOA and the lies that they continue to print.  It must stop and it must stop NOW!!!

Tonight, I will set the record straight and provide you with the correct figures.

Wyckoff Students Are Succeeding!
The nationally recognized Wyckoff Public School District has earned a well-deserved reputation for educational excellence placing it among the top-rated academic institutions in the country. Wyckoff students are highly successful.

According to the New Jersey Department of Education,  Wyckoff students exceed state standards in all subjects tested and at every grade level tested.  Elementary and middle school test scores exceed state standards by as much as 51 percentage points.

Elementary School Language Arts
State Standard: 75% proficient or higher
Wyckoff:  95. 8% proficient or higher

Elementary School Math
State Standard: 62% proficient or higher
Wyckoff:  97% proficient or higher

Middle School Language Arts
State Standard: 66% proficient or higher
Wyckoff:  97.3% proficient or higher

Middle School Math
State Standard: 49% proficient or higher
Wyckoff:  90.5% proficient or higher
(Source 2006 NCLB Report)

Wyckoff was named "A Best Practice Star Schools District." The Eisenhower Middle School was designated as a New Jersey Star School and has received the “National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence” award.
Wyckoff students are well-prepared to succeed in a technologically-based world. The district has effectively integrated technology throughout all subject areas. All of our schools’ classrooms are networked and connected to the vast resources of the worldwide web. The integration of subject matter and technology has provided teachers with instructional materials that stimulate student interest while challenging their intellect.
Student attendance rates exceed state averages, as do staff attendance rates.

Teahers, Staff Among the Best in New Jersey
Wyckoff’s teachers are professionals who are committed to providing their students with a solid foundation.  Fifty-six percent Wyckoff’s teachers have earned a Master’s degree or higher. (The state average is 40.1percent.) Staff members throughout the district have received numerous grants and awards including but not limited to New Jersey Best Practices, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Milken Foundation, Shell Science Teacher, Fulbright Scholar, Freeman Foundation, and Toyota Tapestry Award.

The district’s teachers spend countless hours outside the school day, on weekends, and in the summer preparing lessons, grading papers, taking classes and workshops, and preparing their classrooms. Teachers often spend several hundred dollar or more out of pocket to pay for classroom materials and supplies. Teachers often travel to professional development opportunities often, at their own expense.
Wyckoff’s teachers have an average of over 12 years of experience.

Compensation Ranks At County Average

 Despite Wyckoff’s success its teachers’ average salary and cumulative earnings rank in the middle of Bergen County.  The average yearly salary is around $65,000. To reach the $90,000 salary a teacher holds a Master’s degree with 30 additional credits and must have 20 years of service or hold two Master’s degrees  and have 15 years of service.

Like most teachers in Bergen County, Wyckoff’s teachers have contractually agreed upon employer-paid basic medical benefits. They contribute to the cost of dental benefits and pay double the county average in prescription co-payments.

They do not have optical insurance or disability insurance.   Actually out of the 76 Bergen County school districts, only four have staff members who make contributions to the basic health plan offered.
Unlike those who work in the private sector, teachers do not receive bonuses, stock options, employer-matched 401K plans, car allowances, paid vacations, or company-paid business trips. The teachers contribute between five and five-and-a-half  percent of their salaries to a state pension plan each and every year they teach.  This is not a gift; these pensions are paid for and earned.

Wyckoff Homes Hold Value
Many families cite the quality of Wyckoff’s public schools and the community’s quality of life as the prime reasons for moving to Wyckoff.

Wyckoff is comprised primarily of single-family detached homes. In Wyckoff, smaller homes for sale start under $500,000, while the largest luxury homes command prices of a million dollars or more. Many homes for sale fall into the $600,000 to $800,000 range. The median home sale price in 2006 was $775,000.
Wyckoff’s equalized school tax for 2006 was 1.05.  That places Wyckoff in the lower half of the county.

According to MuniNetGuide, a resource for municipal research, Wyckoff’s median household income is $126,784. The median for Bergen County is $76,830 and for the U.S. is $50,406.

What You Need To Know

Rising property taxes are a statewide problem.  New Jersey relies far too heavily on local property taxes to support education. In most states, the cost of public education is evenly divided between state revenues and local property taxes.  But in New Jersey, the state government’s contribution to education has hovered around 40 percent for more than a generation, with local property taxes paying most of the education bill statewide. Property tax payers should direct their anger at the state and not the children and teachers of Wyckoff Public Schools.  It is time for the state to pay its fair share of public education costs.
Wyckoff’s children deserve the best.  In order to continue to attract and retain the best teachers and school employees, the Board of Education works with the Wyckoff Education Association to bargain a contract that is competitive with others in Bergen County, yet fiscally responsible. The quality of our public schools affects property values, our community, and most importantly – our future.



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