NJ teachers convention canceled in wake of Sandy

November 1, 2012 8:03:01 AM PDT
New Jersey's public teachers union has canceled its annual convention for the first time in 158 years because of Sandy.

The convention had been scheduled for next Thursday and Friday in Atlantic City.

New Jersey Education Association President Barbara Keshishian said Thursday the decision to cancel was made because of the statewide impact of the unprecedented storm. She said it would be ill-advised for the tens of thousands who typically attend to be driving to Atlantic City or using public transportation while utility crews are trying to restore power and basic services to residents, including NJEA members.

Atlantic City sustained substantial damage from Sandy. The city's casinos remain closed even though they say their damage was minimal and are ready to reopen.

Union leaders are looking for ways members can contribute to Atlantic City's cleanup and recovery. Keshishian promised the convention would be back in Atlantic City next year, "bigger and stronger than ever."

The union has long ignored calls from parents who want the convention moved to summer, when teachers and kids are off because schools are already closed.

Many schools remain closed because of the storm. The school year could stretch into summer to make up for lost time if officials are forced to close because of winter weather.