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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin, April 3, 2022

300 to 400 NTA and Community Members Protest the Cuts!

Our campaign is working, but it's not over. On Thursday, at least 300 members of the NTA and the Newton community participated in our rally at city hall to protest the cuts (along with reporters from the Boston Globe and Boston NBC). As of right now, over 1,000 people have sent emails to the Mayor, the School Committee Chairperson Tamika Olszewski, and Superintendent Fleishman (3174 emails sent, divided by 3). We know that they have also received many more emails that were sent independently. If you haven't yet participated in that campaign, please do so now by clicking here. Let the mayor know we are not going away! Our campaign's effectiveness was very clear on Thursday night, after our rally, when the school committee met for the third time last week. At the end of that meeting, members resolved, 8 to 0, with the mayor abstaining, that "[t]he current budget allocation of $262,070,208 is not enough to run the schools without serious negative impacts on our kids." The Newton School Committee, with the exception of Mayor Fuller, is clearly unified in its opposition to these cuts. And that resolution sounds, to my ear, an awful lot like the school committee drawing a very public line in the sand! In addition to the resolution, there were numerous quote worthy moments in that meeting, both high and low. This is one of my favorite high moments, in this case, from Paul Levy. Paul objected, graciously, to Tamika's gracious reference to the mayor's "generous" funding of a number of specific school costs. Paul said: “I don’t think this is about generosity. I think it is about a commitment that was made years ago, by the mayor and the school committee, to head in a certain direction, not only in regard to the union contracts, but in regard to the system-wide objectives.The Newton Public Schools create the fabric of our community. It’s not generous to support the schools, it’s part of the municipal obligation to support them.” Spot on, Paul. As Chris Walsh keeps reminding me, this campaign is not simply about this year's ARPA funds to close the current budget gap, but also, and in fact primarily, about the mayor's inadequate allocations to the schools over the past four years. It has been clear to many people for many years that Mayor Fuller is not honoring that "commitment made years ago by the mayor and the school committee." What is different now is that THIS school committee is willing to call her out on it. Next steps: 1) Click here to sign up to speak at the school committee's public hearing on the budget on Monday, April 4, from 6:00 to 7:00. And, if you have time tonight, join the members of the school committee as they host office hours from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Please login via Zoom using the following login information: Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 812 8329 4592 Passcode: 449186 One tap mobile +13126266799,,81283294592#,,,,*449186# US (Chicago) +16465588656,,81283294592#,,,,*449186# US (New York) 2) For those of you whose classrooms have windows that face the street, put up your "Stop the Cuts," "Fund the Schools" signs--both those the NTA printed, and those you made yourselves--in your windows! (As a union member, to do this is your legally protected right, just as you have a right to wear a NTA button or an NTA t-shirt in your classroom.) 3) Many of our schools have now held standouts--some have now held two. Join one in your school, and if one isn't planned yet, then organize one! 4) Follow us on social media: @newtonteachersassoc on Instagram and Facebook. And spread the word! And if you know Liz Simpson, thank her for the amazing work she is doing to keep our campaign present on social media. In solidarity,

Mike Zilles, President


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