‘Given all resources’: The Newton School Committee says it has run out of funds for striking teachers
While the Newton teachers hit The School Committee has agreed on several issues, and there is still one gap to fill: money, city officials said Thursday evening.
Over the past few days, the two sides have resolved sticking points such as 60 days of parental leave and retention concerns for staff and paraprofessionals, but there is still a difference of more than $15 million in how much should be allocated to schools.
As chants of the picketing teachers echoed outside the Newton Education Center, School Committee Chairman Chris Brzezky said the teachers’ financial demands were “not grounded in economic reality” and appeared to be based on a push by the Massachusetts Teachers Association to push for a deal similar to the one Andover teachers subsequently received. They go on strike in November 2023.
“We have restructured every proposal and thought about every budget item. Given the economic reality we have to deal with now, we have given every possible resource to this contract without harming the students.” Despite any limitations, when we compare this contract With our peer elite areas, we have offered an incredibly competitive package and one we are proud of. In contrast, the union’s proposal is not based on any economic reality.
Barzki said Newton schools should not follow the same path as Andover, which he says has already begun cutting staff after the new deal. The School Committee chair emphasized that Newton’s offer is similar to other districts.
According to Brisky, when the School Committee asked the striking teachers to vote on the proposal, NTA President Mike Zillis immediately refused.
“The reason our kids are staying out of school is because a teacher who makes $62,000 today will make $82,000 at the end of this decade, not $83,000. A teacher who makes $91,000 today will make $121,000 at the end of this decade, not $123,000.” A teacher who earns $120,000 will get $135,000, not $138,000. “Paraprofessionals who make $22.81 an hour will get $32.66, not $35.18,” Brisky said.
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller echoed Briskey’s declaration that the city has run out of money.
“We have consistently said that we will not compromise the education of our students through layoffs. This offer, this offer from the School Committee, which is being negotiated to be sure, ensures that today and tomorrow we continue to improve the quality of our schools without diminishing the services the city needs,” Fuller said. “Our population.”
Students eager to return to classrooms and working parents juggling child care recently wrote letters to a Middlesex Superior Court judge, urging him to take action to return Newton teachers to school.
“I miss being at school. I miss seeing my teacher. I hope to be at school soon,” said one young student in a handwritten letter addressed to H.E. Christopher K. Barry Smith.
Another student wrote: “I hope to see my friends and teachers. It’s getting so boring at home and there’s nothing to do…I’m sad…Please help us go back to school!”
Late Thursday morning, the Newton School Committee filed a memorandum in support of an emergency motion to reconsider sanctions and hold an immediate hearing, stating that the striking teachers “have demonstrated irreparable harm.”
The Newton Teachers Association has faced a total of $575,000 in fines imposed by the court during the strike so far. An additional fee of $50,000 is imposed for each day the strike continues.
In a newly filed brief, the Newton School Committee urged the court to double the $50,000 daily fine to $100,000. The School Committee also wants a judge to order the teachers union to report how much donations it received when making those daily payments.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates when more information is available.
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