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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin December 18, 2022

Click on the image above to see the Parent Educator Collaborative slide presentation on the override

In this issue:

Proposition 2 1/2 Override Politics. Yup. I know it is easy to tune them out. Newton local politics. UGGH! But they matter, and we really are in a situation where your voice--YOUR UNIQUE EDUCATOR ON THE GROUND IN THE SCHOOLS WITH THE STUDENTS VOICE--can make a WINNING difference...a "bring critical funding into the schools" difference. Mayor Fuller has put three "Proposition 2 1/2 Override" questions on the ballot here in Newton for this March: One to rebuild Countryside, one to rebuild Franklin, and an operating budget override for general funds, 4 1/2 million of which would go into the Newton Public Schools budget for next year, with additional funds to convert Horace Mann into a modern elementary school. Talk to any educator at Franklin, Countryside, or Horace Mann, and you will find out pretty quickly that these are critical projects. And talk to any educator in the Newton Public Schools, and you will learn that they face shortages that impede their work every day. So here's the ask: If you work in Franklin, Countryside, or Horace Mann, imagine that someone has asked you why the project to rebuild or modernize your school is important. If you work anywhere else in the NPS, imagine you've been asked why your school needs more funding. Then, once you've imagined your response, volunteer to share it by signing up to give a testimonial here. We have put a number of proposals on the table in bargaining that address unmet NPS needs: better coverage, including more substitutes, floating BTs, more support around technology, full staffing of schools. These are proposals NTA leaders put on the bargaining table because they are concerns you shared with us. Let the public know about these concerns too! Volunteer to share your concerns by signing up to give a testimonial here. To date, community presentations supporting the override have been given primarily by members of the central administrative staff and school committee. But who does the community trust most? YOU. They trust the educators who work with their children. And they will listen to you when you ask them to vote yes, with YOUR UNIQUE EDUCATOR ON THE GROUND IN THE SCHOOLS WITH THE STUDENTS VOICE. In short, the Proposition Override Campaign needs you to contribute your educator voices to their campaign. Please, sign up to give a testimonial. Share your experiences showing why NPS needs this additional funding. At our last Representative Assembly on December 7th, Karen Manning and Alison Lobron, parent leaders of our Parent Educator Collaborative, gave us an extremely helpful presentation on the 2 1/2 override campaign. If you don't know the intricacies of how Proposition 2/ 1/2 works, no matter. The main thing you need to know: Property taxes, the primary source of revenue for cities and towns, and for schools, have a cap on how much they can increase, and that cap puts the squeeze on the resources our schools need to operate effectively. You don't need to be an expert to give a testimonial on the effects of that squeeze. But if you would like to know more, Karen and Alison gave us a much deeper and quite compelling look into how an override works, why one is critical in Newton now, and how we can work together to better fund our schools. Here is the Slideshow they used in their presentation, which clearly lays out how a proposition override works, why Newton needs a yes vote on this one, and how far behind the ball Newton is in regard to passing overrides. And here is additional Information on the Countryside and Franklin building projects.

Finally, and once again, here is that google form where you can volunteer to give testimonial! A couple of last points for the skeptics among you (and I include myself in that category). We are at the beginning of contract negotiations that are looking more and more like they will be, as always, difficult and acrimonious. Trust in School Committee and Central Administrative leaders is in short supply. But you need to know: Whether this override passes or not, we will negotiate and win fair contracts for the members of the NTA. But wouldn't it be amazing if, as part of the campaign to win an override, we heard school committee members and central administrators say something like this: "The contracts with all of our employees will expire at the end of this year, and we are currently in negotiations on successor agreements. We cannot reasonably say to our employees that we cannot make cost of living adjustments to their salaries. Like everyone else, they have seen their earnings erode in the face of rising costs, and they make enormous sacrifices for our children. Even if we cannot fully address the costs of rising inflation, NPS employees need to know we are trying, and we need to provide reasonable adjustments to their salary. Without additional resources, we are left with a devil’s bargain: we agree to reasonable cost of living adjustments for our employees and we cut staffing levels and programming, or we refuse to even entertain reasonable cost of living adjustments. Either way, the educators who dedicate themselves with such professionalism and care to your children will not believe that we, as their leaders, respect and support them, nor the work that they do every day to educate and support our students, and we will enter into long and acrimonious negotiations with the very people who serve our students so well. We need your support on this override, because we, as a community, need to provide our educators the respect and support they have earned--not another acrimonious contract campaign. Please, vote yes on these override questions. Vote yes to support Newton educators. Supporting Newton educators uplifts Newton students!" But they will not say this, and we know it. So if anyone is going to say it, it must be you. In your testimonials, I believe it is possible for you find a way to talk about the need to support the educators who are the backbone of the Newton Public Schools. So, to reiterate my ask, please click here to volunteer to give a testimonial to support the override. Finally---one last finally!--I know that many of you worry that we cannot trust the city to provide NPS with the funds from the override, and we cannot trust the NPS leadership to spend the money in ways that support us, and the work we do. To which I say: we must make it clear that it is our voices that provided crucial support in winning this override. And to which I also say: you can trust that we--you, I, the NTA--will do all we can to hold this city's leaders accountable for how they use these funds.

Social Media

As our negotiations process moves ahead, make sure you are following the NTA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There will be many upcoming opportunities to send in photos of members from your building, to share action items with your network, and to keep the community informed of our progress.

MTA Winter Workshops for PDPs

The MTA invites you to register for its 2023 Winter PDP Programs at 4 pm on Tuesday, December 20th! Learn with the MTA and Earn PDPs to use toward your license recertification!

Choose from seven different online courses where you can earn 15 PDPs towards either English as a Second Language/Sheltered English Immersion or Special Education requirements for renewing your professional license. All courses are FREE to MTA members.

Space is extremely limited for these courses to ensure an enjoyable and effective learning experience for participants. Registration will open on December 21st at 4 PM. Set a reminder now for your best chance at securing a seat in the program of your choice!

Winter PDP Workshops

Online Asynchronous Courses:

  • Fine-Tuning Phonics Instruction for Students with Dyslexia (K-5) 1/21 - 3/4

  • Teaching with the New Dyslexia Guidelines 1/30 - 3/13

  • Universal Design for Learning: Reaching All Students 2/1 - 3/15

Online Synchronous Courses: Zoom Meetings

  • Social Emotional Learning: Using SEL to Inspire Success In All Students. 2/21 & 2/23 (9am-3pm)

  • Authentic Family Engagement in Literacy 1/28 & 2/11 (9am-12pm)

  • Collaborative Model for Multilingual Learners with, or Suspected of having, a Disability 2/8 & 3/1 (4-7pm)

  • Educational Kaleidoscopes: Inclusive Strategies for Multi-lingual Learners 2/2 & 2/16 (4-7pm)

For more information, visit:



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