Feb 1, 2024 - Education

Newton Schools' teacher strike reaches day 10

Striking teachers outside Newton City Hall

Picketing teachers rally outside Newton City Hall on Tuesday. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Newton City Council is calling on the city's public school teachers to accept a new salary contract and return to classrooms after ten days of illegal strikes.

Why it matters: Newton students haven't been in school for nearly two weeks, causing strife and frustration for parents no matter their position on the labor dispute.

What they're saying: "This strike has to end. We need to get our kids back in the classroom, and we need to do it now," City Council President Marc Laredo announced Tuesday at a briefing on the issue.

  • The council has no direct power over its independently-elected school committee, but the body wants union and district leaders to negotiate until a deal is final.

The latest: The school committee is meeting Thursday evening to discuss when make-up days should be held for the missed learning hours.

  • State law requires districts have 180 student days by June 30, as school leadership noted Wednesday.

Be smart: It's illegal for educators to strike in Massachusetts, but some lawmakers are pushing legislation to allow more work stoppages as GBH reports.

  • The Newton teachers have already collectively been fined $525,000.

Catch up quick: Teachers are asking for pay increases, reduced class size, more social workers in schools and a 12-week parental leave policy for staff.

What's new: Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller joined the negotiations for the first time Tuesday night.

  • The district's offer at that time included pay increases for some teachers from $62,000 a year to over $81,000 by 2027.
  • It also proposed raising paraprofessional pay from $22.81-$45.15 to $32.20-$51.20 per hour.

But, but, but: Union reps told CBS Boston Wednesday the offer is not enough and the two parties are still too far apart.

The bottom line: The lengthy strike has kept students from their studies and split the community as some parents have chosen sides and even filed court motions to try to end the strike.

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