Public Schools of Brookline

Statement from the Brookline School Committee - May 9, 2022

The School Committee would like to bring the community up to date on negotiations with the Brookline Educators Union (BEU) over contracts for 2020-2023. These negotiations began in the spring of 2021, and last June, we reached a signed agreement with the Paraprofessional Unit. Negotiations with Unit A (teachers) and Unit B (mid-level administrators) continued through the fall of 2021, but did not lead to agreement.

In February 2022, the Department of Labor Relations assigned a mediator to assist in the process. The mediator’s role is not to mandate a resolution, but to work with both parties to help them reach agreement. There have been two sessions with the mediator, on March 4 and May 9. Another session, scheduled for March 25, was canceled when the mediator fell ill.

Since the fall, the School Committee’s salary offer has been a 6% across-the-board increase over the three-year period 9/1/20-8/31/23. This raise is in addition to the contractual “steps” which provide automatic annual pay increases for most teachers based on years of experience. 63% of our teachers currently receive these “step” increases, which raise the salaries of these teachers by an average of 3.7% each year even before the across-the-board increase that is currently under negotiation.

Recently, the Select Board voted to transfer one-time federal funds (under the American Rescue Plan) to help close the schools’ projected budget deficit for 2022-2023. The purpose of this transfer was to save approximately 45 educator positions, assuming the School Committee’s salary offer. These funds were never intended to increase our salary offer, but rather to retain much-needed educators.

During today’s mediation session, the School Committee made the following proposal for two consecutive three-year agreements with Units A and B: a 6% across-the-board increase over the period 9/1/20-8/31/23, followed by 8% over the period 9/1/23-8/31/26. These raises are in addition to the contractual "steps" described above, which provide automatic annual pay increases for most teachers. The Committee is not asking for any other changes to the contracts. The teacher workday would remain unchanged.

The BEU said that this offer was “not acceptable,” did not make a counteroffer, and walked out of mediation. We have asked the mediator to request that the BEU make a counteroffer before our next School Committee meeting on Thursday, May 12. The Committee will keep the community updated on any progress in the coming days.