Public Schools of Brookline
Statement from the Brookline School Committee - May 15, 2022
The communication below provides important information from the Public Schools of Brookline.
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The Brookline School Committee and the Brookline Educators Union (BEU) have been engaged in mediation to make progress in negotiating educator contracts. Starting on May 14 and continuing into May 15, the parties met with the state mediator for a third session. In mediation, all proposals made by either party are off the record. The three main issues discussed were wages, educator diversity, and teacher prep and common planning time. At this session, the School Committee’s last proposal included:
A 6% across-the-board increase in all wages, stipends, and longevity pay over the period 9/1/20-8/31/23, followed by 8% over the period 9/1/23-8/30/26, with an additional 1% on 8/31/26. These raises are 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.
The Brookline School Committee is committed to maintaining a welcoming environment that supports the retention of educators in underrepresented groups. To that end, we proposed a forum in which educators designated by the BEU could meet with the Superintendent to address issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Note that to comply with state and federal law, employers cannot make employment decisions, including granting of professional teacher status (similar to tenure), on the basis of membership in an underrepresented group.
The Brookline School Committee offered full-time educators who have multiple preps in one day and one or more days without a prep period the opportunity to address their concerns with their direct supervisor, and if need be, to appeal to the Superintendent. The BEU’s proposals on prep time and common planning time have substantial logistical and financial implications. To understand these implications and in order to find a collaborative path forward, we proposed a joint labor-management committee (JLMC) to identify options and costs for providing additional common planning time for educators, as well as for more evenly distributing the existing five prep periods per week.
Unfortunately, the Brookline School Committee and the BEU were unable to reach agreement after approximately nine hours of mediation. The mediator declared impasse at 3:50 am, which means that he will report to the Department of Labor Relations that further attempts at mediation would not result in an agreement.
On Friday May 13, the Norfolk County Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction against the BEU, prohibiting them from striking or threatening to strike. The Court stated that if the union were to strike, “[s]erious and irreparable harm will occur to the Town, the students and their caretakers, and the public welfare.”
Nonetheless, the BEU has announced its intention to strike beginning on Monday, May 16. More information will be provided to the community later today, including whether schools will be open on Monday, May 16.
Media contact: David Pearlman, Brookline School Committee Chair, email@example.com