At 1 a.m. on Sep. 21, the Brookline Educators Union (BEU) and the Brookline School Committee (BSC) signed a tentative agreement regarding the contracts for Unit A educators. The BSC voted unanimously to approve this agreement on Oct. 6, and the BEU will likely meet soon for a ratification vote. This agreement refers to the Unit A members of the BEU, who are teachers, guidance counselors, clinicians, social workers, nurses and other school employees.
According to Rebecca Stone, the Chair of the BSC’s negotiation subcommittee, this potential agreement focuses on issues regarding workload, salary and teachers’ voices in educational decisions. It also responds to the BSC’s strategic goals for students and the town, while remaining within the 2015 override budget. Highlights of this agreement may be found here.
Stone said the BSC is still working to create a contract for Unit B, which includes administrators, and a contract for the Paraprofessionals Unit. Each section’s contract is deliberated on individually, and does not depend upon the others. The BSC also met to negotiate on Oct. 25 with the BEU and a mediator for the Paraprofessional Unit, and Stone said she was disappointed with the lack of progress at that meeting. Jessica Wender-Shubow, the president of the BEU, said in a newsletter that the two parties were very far apart on both salaries and job security.
According to Wender-Shubow, paraprofessionals want a wage increase. Wender-Shubow said that currently the salaries of paraprofessionals are so low that not only is it difficult to hire for those positions, but it is also difficult to retain employees.
Wender-Shubow also said that the administrators hope to address workload issues in order to have a more fair approach to their jobs. For example, Wender-Shubow said that vice principals’ responsibilities have increased and some have grown frustrated over this change, for it has become difficult to support both teachers and classroom staff at their respective schools.
The attached press release was released by Wender-Shubow and details more information on the BEU’s opinion regarding these deliberations.
The BEU plans to meet again on Nov. 9 with the BSC and a state mediator.