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Teacher strike reaches two full weeks as contract negotiations continue to progress

Union+members+rally+at+the+Education+Center%2C+holding+up+signs+and+chanting%2C+to+protest+for+a+fair+contract+Thursday%2C+Feb.+1.
Nell Ranalli
Union members rally at the Education Center, holding up signs and chanting, to protest for a fair contract Thursday, Feb. 1.

As the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike extends into its fourteenth day Thursday, Feb. 1, resulting in the tenth consecutive day of canceled school, negotiations remain in progress between the union and the Newton School Committee.

“So many communities of children are being hurt now for a second week,” said Lital Asher-Dotan, a parent of three NPS students. “Kids should be back in school.” 

According to an email from the committee Wednesday, Jan. 31, the two parties were still around $15 million apart in their proposals. However, earlier today, the NTA presented a proposal that narrowed the difference to under $4 million, as reported by Ryan Normandin, a member of the negotiations committee.

According to an email update sent out by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, the parties have made significant progress on most of the issues, including the parental leave policy, Unit C wages, and having a social worker in each building, though compensation remains unresolved.“Now, it is just about the money,” she said.

Fuller added that the committee is working to speed up negotiations and get students back into the building. “This illegal strike is hurting our children,” she said. “Our parents and caregivers were struggling, making alternative arrangements, paying a lot for childcare, depending on family and friends to fill in, and missing work.” 

According to Mike Schlegelmilch, the strike was the NTA’s last resort to get a desired contract, and despite the backlash it has received from the prolonged strike, many parents have been steadfast in their support. 

“We understand how parents are feeling frustrated right now and angry right now. We are too. We wanted kids to be back in school yesterday, last week,” said Schlegelmilch. “The person to direct that frustration and that anger toward is the mayor, so that we can get the funding allocation that will allow us to get back with our students, with the learning conditions that they deserve.”

The NTA continued to rally at the Education Center today with support from members of the community.

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Emma Xiao, News editor
Aanya Vishwanath, Sports managing editor
Aanya Vishwanath is currently a freshman at Newton North High School. Outside school, she loves to play tennis and ski. Her favorite use of spare time is listening to music; her taste ranges from Fiona Apple to Kendrick Lamar. In school, she is active in the DECA club, so she's excited to see how her business knowledge will help her contribute to the Newtonite. She also serves on the Student Faculty Administration as a Freshman representative and enjoys participating in sports and musicals. Aanya's passion for theatre and singing began in the third grade when she begged her mom for singing lessons, and since then she has never looked back. She takes Chinese in school and is approaching fluency in French, and hopes to be completely fluent in both languages by the time she reaches high school graduation. Her favorite subjects in school are Physics and Chinese. She is thrilled about her first year working on Volume 102!
Kerri Huang, News managing editor
Kerri Huang is a sophomore at Newton North High School. She is on the swim team, as well as the debate team. In her free time she enjoys playing piano, writing fiction, tutoring online, and spending time with friends. Her favorite food is ramen, and she loves to travel. Two of her favorite books of all time are The Thief Lord and the School for Good and Evil. Her favorite subjects in school are Chemistry and Spanish. She looks forward to a great year on the Newtonite!
Maddie Ngo, News editor
Maddie Ngo is currently a freshman at Newton North High School. One of her passions is competitive rock climbing, and she represents the Freshman class on Newton North High School's SFA. In her free time, she likes to *try* to learn languages. At the moment, she is learning Spanish and Vietnamese, the latter of which is spoken by much of her extended family. Maddie also enjoys reading and baking with her family and friends. Maddie has two pets, a dog named Izzy and a lizard named Spotsir (because he has spots). Maddie has always loved climbing things, rock climbing just happened to be her parents' way of keeping her out of the neighbors trees. Her favorite subjects in school are Science, English and Spanish. She is looking forward to a great year on Volume 102!
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