In this issue: Negotiations Charles E. Brown Fellowship Fair Share Amendment MTA Trainings for New Members
For the second week in a row, we met on Friday with the School Committee Negotiations Team, and, again, the session was cordial and productive. We have nearly reached agreement on language that will protect members who must miss extensive days this year because of pandemic related absences.
An outstanding issue is stipends for educators. As you are all by now aware, Mayor Fuller reached an agreement with the municipal unions to award a $1,500 stipend to all municipal employees (except police) as an honorarium for service during the pandemic, to be paid upon proof of compliance with the vaccine mandate. I think we are all frustrated that we need to advocate for these stipends. An honorarium should be just that--a sign of gratitude and respect for the work that we do. It really stung when these stipends were awarded to municipal employees, while school employees were disregarded. During negotiations, while the members of the School Committee bargaining team were non-comital, they also did not dispute our claim that educators should also receive this stipend. But for this to happen, Mayor Fuller must commit the funds to the schools. The funds are there. The city received approximately $63 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), of which it has only committed approximately $19 million. Of this amount, only $1 million is allocated to fund the stipends for municipal employees. To do the same for school employees would cost approximately $3.75 million more. We are in contact with the leadership of the Newton Custodians Association and the Newton Educational Secretaries Association, who are in full agreement with us that the Mayor must make available more funding for the schools, and that school employees, like their municipal colleagues, are deserving of this stipend. Be prepared. We may need to reach out to members over the next week or two and ask you to join our advocacy for these stipends.
Charles E. Brown Fellowship Applications Announcement
The Charles E. Brown Fellowship is an annual award sponsored by the Newton Teachers Association. NTA members who receive this award are released from regular duties for one to five days to pursue a particular educational project (without loss of pay). Types of Projects Considered for Funding:
Development of professional tools, equipment, and materials
Professional study and research
Advancement of professional association work and leadership
Criteria for Selection: The review board will consider the project’s future benefits to the students, teachers and professional staff of the City of Newton. The contribution that the project will make to the unified teaching profession will also be considered. Applications: If you are interested in applying for a fellowship, please fill out an application form on line using this link: https://bit.ly/cebfellowshipapp If you prefer a paper application, one can be found on the NTA Website Charles E. Brown Fellowship page under Member Resources. Deadline: Completed applications for the fellowships for the 2022-2023 school year must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2022. Announcement of Awards: The winners of the 2022-2023 Charles E. Brown Fellowships will be announced the week of May 2, 2022. Completion Dates: All fellowships granted for the 2022-2023 school year must be completed between September 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.
Fair Share Amendment Support
Next year we will be entering into negotiations. Inflation is higher than it has been in decades, yet it is likely that the City will once again bargain hard to keep our wages and benefits as low as possible. That said, schools do indeed need more funding, and there is a ballot question coming up this November that would help. Called the Fair Share Amendment, it raises state tax on income OVER $1,000,000. If you make less than a million, you won't see an increase. Please sign the pledge to vote YES in November. This money will directly help our salaries and support our classrooms.
Trainings for New Members
The MTA is proud to offer virtual trainings for our new members on the topic of loan forgiveness, Professional Teacher Status (tenure), Paraprofessional rights, and licensure. They are aimed at those in their first five years of working, but anyone who wants to learn can attend. See links to register on this document. **NOTE: These may be particularly useful if you want to forgive student loans, or if you are working under an emergency license**