If ever there was a need for a long weekend, this was it. I hope that you were able to refuel your tanks, at least enough to get you through the next four weeks—and into the summer.
March for Our Lives
Each time there is another horrendous school shooting, we hear the same rhetoric and witness the same drawing of battle lines that block sensible gun control. As MTA President Merrie Najimy states in a recent email to statewide members, "[w]e are all feeling deep anguish – matched by outrage – that our national elected leaders are failing to protect students, educators and communities from the gun violence that continues to needlessly claim so many innocent lives." While the timeframe within which President Najimy urges that we act--on this Wednesday, June 1st--feels impossibly close, she suggests a number of steps that you can organize at your building level that you might consider. March for our Lives has organized a second nationwide coordinated march on Saturday, June 11 to push back against gun violence. You can find out how to participate in Boston by clicking here.
Parent / Educator Collaborative
Once again, your advocacy has made a difference! On Monday, May 23, the Newton City Council resolved that the school budget was inadequate, and asked that the mayor add an additional $1.4 million in funds. After this vote, NTA and community members sent approximately 1,000 emails to Mayor Fuller, the City Council, and the Newton School Committee. On Wednesday, May 25, the City Council voted 22-0, with one abstention and one absence, to reject the School Committee approved budget. On Thursday, May 26, in an unprecedented move, the City Council voted 13-11 to reject the Mayor Fuller's recommended City of Newton FY23 budget in its entirety because the Mayor Fuller had failed to add $1.4 million to the schools to restore the cuts. On Friday, May 27, in her most recent email update to the community, the Mayor defended her funding to the schools using the same tired and misleading reasoning she has used all along. (This email has not yet been posted on the City of Newton website.) You can support the collaborative's work by keeping up the pressure. If you have not already, please click here to send an email to Mayor Fuller, the members of the school committee and the city council.
Impact Bargaining Update
We continue to bargain with district leaders on the impact of budget cuts. The negotiations have been both amicable and productive. We are in agreement that additional work cannot simply be shifted from the positions that were cut onto the shoulders of other members. Nonetheless, the sticking point has been the district leaders' wish to sustain programs and services in spite of the cuts. One clear example is middle school literacy intervention. The district has reduced the FTE of the middle school literacy coordinator and cut almost all of the middle school interventionist positions, yet principals and central administrators are scrambling to figure out alternative methods of providing intervention services. Similarly, Instructional Technology Specialists, librarians, and technology support staff have suffered cuts over a number of years, even as the need for these services has grown. We know that middle school intervention services are critical. We know that educators and students need the support of our invaluable Instructional Technology Specialists, technical support staff, and librarians. Yet, however invaluable these programs and services are, the effort to sustain them in the face of budget cuts AND protect other members from being required to take on the additional responsibilities necessary to preserve them feels like a game of whack-a-mole.
General Membership Meeting
Please mark your calendars for the NTA General Membership Meeting: Wednesday, June 24, 5:00-6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registration information to follow. Tentative agenda: Friends of Education Awards presentation; Committee Reports, President’s Report. MTA New Member Summer Program
Are you a new educator interested in learning more about the union, but don't know where to begin? The New Member Program at MTA Summer Conference is for you! This program will run from July 31st to August 3rd at UMASS Amherst and is one track of the MTA Summer Conference. Through this program you will learn everything from union basics, reading and understanding your contract, as well as how to bargain a contract. This is a great opportunity to meet and network with other MTA members from across the state. This program is free to members in their the first five years. Please reach out to Ariana Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. Registration will open at the end of May.