Principals' union delays vote amid concerns of bonuses, transparency

With too many unanswered questions and concerns, members of the principals' union have delayed voting on proposed concessions to the school district, said union president Robert McGrogan.

About 250 members of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators attended a union meeting last night where the decision was reached by an overwhelming majority, he said. 

McGrogan said that during the roughly two-hour meeting, members expressed concern over what they perceived as a lack of transparency in the district, mainly with Supt. Arlene Ackerman.

"I told the district's negotiators [law firm Blank Rome] that I have a credibility issue with their client, the school district, but especially Dr. Ackerman," he said.

He added that members also prefer to wait to see what bargaining units of other unions will decide with their contracts.

Votes will be counted via mail-in ballots, which will be distributed to members at an unspecified time. An informational session at union headquarters, on Broad and Poplar streets, will be held for 10-month employees coming back from vacation, he said.

Reopening the principals' contract was a hard sell in the first place, but after the Daily News reported this week that the district had rewarded or promised $10,000 bonuses to 10 principals with connections to Promise Academies, some believe the district's chances of getting a new agreement slimmed.

"The district withheld additional funding and handed them out at their discretion," McGrogan said of the bonuses. "They use any means to justify the end."

Although last night's decision by union members underscores that thinking, McGrogan said that while the situation is sensitive, members understand its gravity and will decide accordingly.

"Our members see how serious it is," he said. "My members will make an intelligent decision. It won't be based on emotion."

Read tomorrow's Daily News for more on this story.