Educators extend our gratitude to the parents, guardians, and caregivers, and other members of the Brookline community, who have been reaching out to us with words of support and sincere questions about what issues are on the bargaining table and what is prompting collective action in the schools.
For some time, we have asked the School Committee to open up negotiations to the public so that members of the community can hear our concerns, see how we work as a union, and judge for themselves whether our proposals are good for our students and schools. We hope you will encourage the School Committee to finally open up the sessions.
Educators do not take the decision to engage in collective action lightly. Unfortunately, every other effort we have made to see serious problems addressed by the district has not worked, leaving us with no other choice. Conditions we are addressing have for too long been degrading educators’ ability to do their best work and to sustain a career commitment to the Public Schools of Brookline. This prolonged, grinding situation is already hurting children much more than our efforts to get to an agreement with the school committee quickly. The conditions we are addressing are definitely not as visible and dramatic as a work action is, but they are ultimately more disruptive of quality educational services and our ability to translate our love of our students into substantive supports that we want to deliver.
Here are our current bargaining priorities of our three year contract:
- A Just Wage: Increase educators’ salaries an average of 3% per year during the 3-year contract term (retroactive to 2020-2021)
- Fair Workload for K-8 World Language Teachers and teachers of “specials”: Reduce the untenable workload of the district’s K-8 World Language and other teachers who are required to teach more classes across multiple grade levels without opportunities to participate in their school communities
- Common Planning Time: Create additional common planning time for educators to facilitate collaboration across grade levels, academic departments, and schools
- Adequate Staffing: Hire additional personnel from Brookline neighborhoods facing the highest unemployment rates to increase the diversity of our staff, cover building-based duties, and open up common planning time for educators
- Retaining a Diverse Workforce: Grant BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) educators Professional Teacher States (PTS) as early as allowed by law and regular meeting with the superintendent
We encouraged members of the community to challenge claims that the town “simply has no money.” This is just not just not true, and if it is “the case”, then it is by choice. In 2019, Brookline placed 29th lowest (or 322nd highest) in tax rates while being in the top 10% in income (even higher in income by some accounts). If Proposition 2 ½ is in the way, it is past time to make means of funding of public services as great a priority as austerity talk. Furthermore, community stake-holders, including the educators of Brookline, are supposed to be part of decisions about how to use $40 million in stimulus funds. We hope you will stand with us.
Please contact the School Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org and insist that this bargaining process becomes transparent and happens in public–right away.