For additional information, contact BEU President Jessica Wender-Shubow, 617-277-0251, 508-944-0239
Rally to Support
When: 5:15 pm, Thursday Nov. 10
Where: Brookline Town Hall, 333 Washington St.
Paraprofessionals and unionized administrators in the Brookline Public Schools are still working without a contract. Brookline Educators Union members and their community supporters are holding a rally Thursday, Nov. 10, before the School Committee meeting to demand a fair wage for the paraprofessionals and a reasonable workload for administrators.
The BEU will then share that message with the Brookline School Committee following the rally.
The school committee and BEU have a tentative agreement for classroom teachers, but the paraprofessionals and unionized building administrators are still at the bargaining table.
Negotiations were scheduled for Nov 9. Negotiations that began Tuesday, Oct. 25 and ran well past midnight on Wednesday, Oct 26, ended with no agreement and with the parties far apart, especially on wages and job security for paraprofessionals.
“The BEU wants to move paraprofessionals toward salary comparability with Newton,” said BEU President Jessica Wender-Shubow. “We want the salary for full-time paras to have a floor of $20,000. The school committee is balking at that, offering wage increases that amount to less than $2.00 a day for most, keeping the wages of many paraprofessionals at under $19,000 a year. We are also far apart on basic job security, with the school committee refusing any layoff and recall language for paraprofessionals.”
Most paraprofessionals in Brookline are classroom aides. The current starting salary for a classroom aide in Brookline working 32 hours per week for 183 days is $18,036. An aide working those hours in Newton earns $20,203. After seven years of service, an aide in Brookline makes $24,408, though in Newton would earn $28,554. After 15 years of service, the aide in Brookline is still paid $24,408, but in Newton would make $41,179.
Brookline Public Schools currently employ 350 paraprofessionals, 125 of which were hired this year. There are openings for almost 20 more paraprofessionals.
“We need a wage that attracts and retains the best educators that we can. Brookline students deserve no less,” said Wendy MacMillan, a paraprofessional and member of the BEU negotiations team.
Administrators who are members of the BEU are seeking contract provisions that address their shifting and increasing job responsibilities.
“Classroom teachers are extremely grateful for the community support we received during our negotiations with the school committee,” Wender-Shubow said. “The committee now needs to fairly treat the remaining BEU members working without contracts. The paraprofessionals, administrators and classroom teachers really function as a unit, each part vital to making sure that every Brookline Public Schools student is receiving an excellent education.”