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NTA fights layoffs

By Alex Gershanov
Published: March 2009

In light of the proposed budget cuts, more than 500 teachers attended the Newton Teacher’s Association (NTA) meeting on March 18 at Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton. The looming threat of multiple layoffs spurred the largest attendance recorded in over a decade.
Teachers and administrators met at this private meeting, and discussed their concerns about the budget plan as well as potential solutions.

Newton is among numerous districts suffering cutbacks due to the economic crisis. The budget for the Newton educational system consists of approximately $160 million distributed among all 21 schools and preschools within the city. Because funds have become insufficient, teachers are expected to be laid off.

Massachusetts law states that if layoffs must be implemented, teachers without professional status, or three years of experience at the school, must be the first to go.

History Department Head Marshall Cohen believes that layoffs could be avoided if South receives “enough money from federal bailouts, Cohen said.

The attendees at the meeting attempted to find other ways to gain the money needed to support the teachers in question.

NTA President Cheryl Turgel said, “The budget is pretty clearly spelled out but you don’t know exactly where all the money is going. You can’t pinpoint it exactly.
The veteran staff at South supports the younger teachers who are in jeopardy. More than 50 South teachers attended the meeting.

South Union Representative to the NTA Jamie Rinaldi said, “Veteran teachers are very sympathetic to the position of younger teachers. They understand what it’s like to not know if you’re going to have a job next year.

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