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Mayor and school committee reacts to NTA protest efforts

Posted By Alex Gershanov On December 23, 2009 @ 3:27 am In News | Comments Disabled

Following a Newton Teachers Association (NTA) demonstration at a School Committee meeting on November 23, negotiations for a teachers’ successor contract will resume in January. The two organizations plan to wait until mayor-elect Setti Warren and three new School Committee members take office to renew negotiations.

The demonstration, which involved “gifting the city with bags of fake money representing the value of teacher’s volunteer hours, provoked a broad spectrum of reactions. While online blogs and discussions showed that many people supported the actions of the NTA, some residents were negative on the display of theatrics.

“[There were] a couple of letters that were in The Newton TAB that were negative, NTA president Cheryl Turgel said, also mentioning that the TAB article on the demonstration was “pretty negative.

Chair of the negotiating team Susan Heyman felt the NTA had a right to be speaking to the public through their demonstration.

“The NTA wanted to be public about their feelings; the School Committee knew exactly how they felt, she said.

Turgel believes that the NTA’s actions were also a way of bringing attention to “all the extra work that is asked of everyone in the teaching position.

In their negotiations, Turgel and the NTA are asking the SC for, among other things, a pay increase for NTA members.

Warren, who as mayor will hold a seat on the SC, is looking forward to reopening negotiations.

“I support our teachers and I support their efforts to provide quality education to every student at every level, he said. “I, along with the School Committee, will be working with them on resolving contractual issues.

Turgel and Warren were scheduled to have an “introductory meeting on December 8.

According to Turgel, the NTA will meet on January 19 to evaluate NTA strategy, what proposals they want to offer, and how they will work with the School Committee.

Heyman, who had two children at South, added that she and the NTA understand the position of the NTA.

“We recognized that the teacher association had a right to present things to the School Committee, she said. “I think that everybody on the School Committee appreciates what teachers do for kids in Newton, which is over and above their exact job description.

The discussions in January will be focused not on a single-year contract, which the two groups were not able to come to an agreement upon, but a multi-year successor contract.

Principal Joel Stembridge believes that the unfavorable budget situation, in many ways due to the recent economic downturn, will provide for a difficult negotiating climate.

“I know for many families it has been a difficult economy, and yet I think it’s important to remind families that teachers go above and beyond on a daily basis, he said. “I think people who don’t work in schools don’t understand the intensity and the exhaustion at the end of the day, the papers being graded late at night and on weekends.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/mayor-and-school-committee-reacts-to-nta-protest-efforts/

URLs in this post:

[1] Teachers “gift” city with $37 million: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/11/25/teachers-gift-city-with-37-million/

[2] Zilles to lead NTA after close election: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/zilles-to-lead-nta-after-close-election/

[3] One year teacher contract ratified: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/one-year-teacher-contract-ratified/

[4] NTA fights layoffs: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/25/nta-fights-layoffs/

[5] Café negotiations pose legal questions: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/cafe-negotiations-pose-legal-questions/

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