The proposed budget cuts, as well as the uncertainty around their impact, is creating much anxiety. The NTA will continue to enforce our collective bargaining agreements to make sure member rights are protected and we will bargain the impact of the cuts. That we find ourselves here, facing these cuts, now, is incredibly frustrating. The NPS should not be cutting supports. They need to improve teaching, working, and learning conditions. Of course class sizes and caseloads should not go up. Of course mental health supports should not be reduced. Of course the number of kindergarten aides should not be reduced.Of course construction to address the space needs at Horace Mann should not be put on hold. Of course no NPS educators should be laid off this year. Why not? Because in reality, the challenges our students face require more support, not less. Based on the member feedback we gathered this fall, the NTA Negotiations Team identified critical areas where more support is essential. We have presented sound proposals to improve the teaching, working, and learning conditions that you have identified. We need, among other changes:
A full time social worker in every building;
a multi-pronged approach to improving substitute coverage;
better support for technology use in the classroom and technology infrastructure;
higher starting salaries for educational support professionals;
more planning time for elementary educators;
morning (as opposed to late afternoon) meetings for high school educators.
Our fight is not just to maintain, but to improve the Newton Public Schools. The NTA will continue to advocate for these changes, and the funding to pay for them, through our contract campaign. Certainly a yes vote on the operating override would have allowed the NPS to weather the current crisis more easily. But this current crisis is a consequence of chronic underfunding. The City of Newton must address this CHRONIC underfunding of the Newton Public Schools. We also know that NPS budgetary shortfalls cannot be subsidized by Newton educators. Since the last contract was signed in 2019, inflation has taken a huge bite out of our paychecks. We cannot be asked to forgo fair cost of living adjustments to subsidize the Newton Public Schools. Refusing to negotiate fair contracts for Newton employees cannot be the solution to the chronic underfunding of our schools.
We will not give up the fight for the schools our students deserve. It would be great if, finally, the Newton School Committee and the NPS Central Administration were to unite with us, rather than oppose us, in this fight. But we cannot count on this support. We must continue to lead the way for the schools our students deserve. To this end, a few reminders:
Don't forget to wear your t-shirts on T-Shirt Tuesdays and Wear it Wednesdays. Our solidarity is critical; show yours by wearing your NTA shirt every Tuesday or Wednesday.
Sign up to LIne the Halls on days we negotiate! Support your NTA Negotiations Team! Next negotiation session is this Tuesday, April 4.
Join us for the first of three General Membership Meetings this spring. Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 27, 7:30 p.m. Come and share your concerns, your questions, your perspective.