Deal in the works to avoid teacher strike in Jersey City

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — It could be the final straw for teachers in Jersey City.

If they can't reach a deal with the school board, more than 4,000 union members are set to go on strike.

Teachers in Jersey City have been working without a contract since September, and if they don't like what they hear from the school board Thursday, they plan to go on strike for the first time in 20 years — The last time there was a strike in Jersey City was in 1998 and lasted 10 days.

The school board in Jersey City is expected to vote on a deal that could end the eight-month dispute.

The board is expected to discuss the contract offer at it's meeting.

If it's approved, it's not clear whether teachers will support the board's proposal.

The big issue revolves around rising healthcare costs approved under a state law back in 2011.

If they do not reach a deal, the teachers union has promised to strike.

“As the premiums go up, our salaries have been going down. Teachers are getting paid less than they did 10 years ago,” said teacher Kristen Zadroga-Hart.

The school board has declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations, but at public meetings they have said it comes down to simple math.

Right now, they expect a $65 million shortfall for the 2018-2019 budget.

However, if a deal cannot be reached, the problems for the 29,000 district students might only get worse by day's end.