We are feeling discouraged right now, and we fear that you are too.
It was just four weeks ago that the School Committee voted unanimously to provide stipends in appreciation of your sacrifice and dedication during the two years of the pandemic. A little over two weeks after they did this, Superintendent Fleishman announced that we have a $5.2 million budget gap, and that he would have to cut up to 74 FTEs. We have just learned that many people are already being told that their positions are being cut—before the budget has even been presented, before any public hearing, before the school committee has voted.
The district seems hell bent on these cuts, with as little transparency as possible.
What is so sad is that we KNOW the funds are there to close this gap, that this is a problem that can be fixed.
We also know that if these cuts go through, many people stand to lose their jobs and that those who remain will try to pick up the slack. We know that students will suffer, and that our most vulnerable students will suffer most. It’s sad, disappointing, and disillusioning.
Are you tired of fighting? We are. It has grown so old, all this fighting. Harder still is knowing this is only yet another round, and that our contract negotiations next year are likely, as always, to be very tough.
But we only win if we fight. We must fight. And it is not too late for our fight to make a difference.
So what can we do?
First, RIGHT NOW, you can send an email to Superintendent Fleishman, Mayor Fuller, and the School Committee by clicking here.
Second, you can join colleagues and parents at tonight’s 7:00 p.m. Parent/Educator Collaborative on Zoom. Sign up by clicking here.
Third, you can click here to let us know your preference for a rally to oppose the cuts: After school on March 31, April 1, or no preference on date. If you think you can attend, click the link so we also have an idea of how many people will join us.
Fourth, if you know members in your building are frustrated, and just want to do something now, in person, live: organize a standout or standouts in front of your building. Make signs. Build community support!
Fifth, share what you know with friends. Post on social media; send the link to our email campaign to friends; spread the word!
You—we—are the union—and we, together, are the only source of power we have. I cannot say for certain that if we fight we win—I just know that we can’t win if we don’t fight.
Let’s fight this —to win. We cannot give in to our discouragement.
We cannot, and will not, go quietly.