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Rejected contract proposals prolong negotiations amid ongoing teacher strike

NTA+members+rally+outside+of+City+Hall+to+listen+to+speeches+by+Shayna+Packer%2C+an+expecting+parent%2C+among+other+speakers+Tuesday%2C+Jan.+30.
Gabe Kolodner
NTA members rally outside of City Hall to listen to speeches by Shayna Packer, an expecting parent, among other speakers Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Members of the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) negotiations team opted to reject a proposed package presented by the Newton School Committee Tuesday, Jan. 30, the twelfth day of the union strike. The decision has led to the cancellation of school tomorrow, marking the ninth consecutive school day without classes.

The committee’s proposal included a guaranteed minimum 12 percent increase in Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for all employees, along with a guaranteed 12 weeks of parental leave for educators, according to Chris Brezski, a school committee member.

The proposal did not align with many of the union’s other crucial priorities, according to Ryan Normandin, a member of the NTA negotiations team. These priorities include higher wages for Unit C members, ensuring social workers are in every school, and addressing substitute coverage.

The committee’s proposal follows the rejection of a prior “compromise” package put forth by the NTA on Sunday, Jan. 28. In a joint statement, the committee said the NTA proposal was “neither affordable nor sustainable.” They added, “This was not bargaining in good faith.” 

Despite lengthy negotiations, union teachers remain optimistic about returning to the classroom soon, according to English teacher Mike Schlegelmilch. “There’s so much hope among all of these educators, and that is something that they are not going to be able to break or take away from us like that,” he said. “Hope is what gets us out of bed every morning, even when we don’t want to be standing out in the cold and the rain and the snow every day. So we’re always holding onto that hope.”

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About the Contributors
Hannah Zizlsperger, Arts editor
Hannah Zizlsperger is currently a freshman at Newton North High School. Outside of school she is on the competitive rock climbing team at CRG Watertown and coaches the non-competitive teams there as well. Her favorite school subjects are English, Italian, and Physics. Other than climbing, Hannah enjoys reading and knitting. Her favorite books are The Lunar Chronicles and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Other than that, Hannah also enjoys skiing and spending time with family. Hannah loves to climb with friends at the gym when she doesn’t have practice. Hannah is excited to be on the Newtonite for volume 102!
Gabe Kolodner, Photo manager
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