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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin October 2, 2022

In this issue

Possible Proposition 2 and 1/2 Override

Last week I asked you to fill out a brief survey asking you what you thought should be a priority for the use of additional funds brought in by a proposition 2 1/2 override. About 300 people filled out the survey. Key takeaways.

  • An additional "educator attraction and retention" cost of living adjustment (COLA) was a clear priority (4.5 stars)

  • Class and caseload size limits were second in overall prioritization (4.1 stars)

  • For elementary and middle school teachers, better substitute coverage was a priority, not only in the ratings (4.2 stars), but also in the comments ("Day to day sub coverage is, by far, the most critical piece that is currently lacking.)

  • Elementary educators need additional preparation time (4.0 stars), though some thought this should be achieved differently than I suggested in the survey (For example, rather than offering a special science class, some suggested offering a technical education or digital literacy class.)

  • High school educators rated adding additional buses to move start time to 8:30 3.8 stars.

  • There was little appetite for offering educators incentives to conserve energy or convert to electrical vehicles (2.3 stars) and there were a fair number of negative comments about this--essentially that it was elitist, and favored those who could afford an electric or plug in hybrid car in the first place.

  • The question about increasing IT support was compromised by my muddled wording and a failure to include ITS support, and consequently the data is invalid. Sorry!

Negotiations Update

The NTA Negotiations Team will be meeting with the NPS Negotiations Team for the first time on October 20. We will begin by negotiating ground rules, after which we will set a date for exchanging our initial bargaining proposals, which will likely happen sometime in November. Creating a bargaining proposal/platform is an iterative process.

  • We began by looking back on what we won in our last negotiations, and asking how we can build upon the gains we made then.

  • Last month we asked our Negotiations Team to pilot focus group questions to elicit proposals in four broad categories: (1) Pay and benefits, (2) working conditions, (3) leave policy, and (4) professional development.

  • We have begun writing our proposal using the information we currently have available.

  • Building reps will offer members the opportunity to participate in building and department based focus groups.

  • Based on the feedback these focus groups provide us, we will revise refine our proposal.

  • We will then survey members to determine their priorities, and once again revise and refine our proposal.

NTA Negotiations Team

  • Michael Zilles, President, NTA

  • Elizabeth Ross Del Porto, First Vice President, Angier Elementary

  • Liz Simpson, Second Vice President, Oak Hill Middle School

  • Christine Walsh, Second Release Officer and Treasurer, NTA

  • Michael Burtch, Unit A Member, Bigelow Middle School

  • Valerie Brunache Lewis, Unit C Member, Countryside Elementary School

  • Sue Cohen, Recording Secretary, Springboard Program

  • Brenna Green, Unit A Member, Cabot Elementary

  • Lynn Penczar, Unit A Member, Lincoln-Eliot Elementary

  • Elana Cutler, Unit A Member, Brown Middle

  • Derek Knapp, Unit A Member, Newton North High

  • Marcia Okun, Unit A Member, Newton South High

  • Jayme Ellis, Unit A Member, Burr Elementary

  • Ally Andrews, Unit B Member, Franklin, Horace Mann, and Lincoln-Eliot

  • Dan Rubin, Unit B Member, Newton South High

  • Sarah Wysocki, Unit C Member, Newton North High

  • Thuy Truong, Unit C Member, Newton Early Childhood Program

  • Janette Patel, Unit C Member, Oak Hill Middle School

  • Tony Sbordone, Unit E Member, Ed Center

  • Thomas Buchau, Unit E Member

  • Jason Leto, Field Representative, MTA

Fair Share Amendment

November 8th. That is the date when Massachusetts voters will decide whether those who earn more than one million dollars per year will pay their fair share of income taxes towards pre-k to 12 and higher education as well as transportation. To learn more about the Fair Share amendment and ways you can participate in your city or town, click here. If you would like to join your NTA colleagues to mobilize support here in Newton, we have organized the following events: Click here to sign up to phone bank for an hour from our NTA office between 4:00 and 7:00 on October 4 and October 19. Bring your laptops.

Loan Forgiveness

There are many options available that you may qualify for to reduce or eliminate your student loans. The NTA will soon be hosting a Student Loan Forgiveness workshop at our local office to help members learn about their options for relieving the burden of student debt. Date coming soon! This article from the NEA explains the basics of the various loan forgiveness options available for educators, and lets you know what your next steps should be. Information from the Loan Forgiveness Program is available at



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