Stipend Negotiations Update!
We are pleased to share with you that, THANKS TO YOUR ADVOCACY we have reached a tentative agreement with the Newton School Committee that will provide school employees with the same stipends that municipal employees were granted: $1,500 for anyone employed by the Newton Public Schools prior to July 2021 and $500 for anyone employed subsequent to that date, prorated based on FTE.
We have some minor details to work out in the language, but we expect to do that immediately after break. Stipends will likely appear in either the March 31 paychecks or the April 15th paycheck. You must be currently employed by the NPS to be eligible for these stipends. Tamika Olszewski, Chair of the School Committee, prefaced their agreement to offer stipends by stating, and I paraphrase slightly: "In our discussions about the stipends, to a person, there was a deep appreciation for the work of educators in facing the unknown threat of the virus, at a time that we didn’t have full mitigation in effect. We understand and appreciate that the educators were there, and were there first." In all of our negotiations with the School Committee negotiations team, they have consistently expressed this appreciation, along with their desire to offer stipends as an expression of this appreciation. This would not have happened without your advocacy. Three days after we began our email campaign, on Wednesday February 16, the School Committee met in executive session. Even though executive sessions are not open to the public, the publicly stated purpose of the meeting was to discuss negotiations. Immediately after this session, the school attorney reached out to us to schedule a negotiations session for today, Friday February 18. On the City of Newton website that reports the allocation of ARPA funds, the following allocation was posted this week:
All of this was not coincidence. Your advocacy clearly led to our victory.
To those of you who sent emails to the mayor, the mayor responded to each of you that she had already allocated the amount necessary to fund the stipends, and that the School Committee was in discussions to determine how to allocate those funds.
Draw whatever inferences you like from the mayor's statements about who allocated what when and the subsequent turn of events. I think one thing is very clear: your advocacy was directed where it needed to go. We did it!