On behalf of the Boston Teachers Union
Boston Teachers Union Members Vote to Ratify Two-Year Contract
Contract brings improvements that benefit students, families, and our schools
BOSTON, MA – Boston Teacher Union members — including teachers, guidance councilors, social workers, paraprofessionals, and more — voted to ratify a new contract today. Educators ratified the two-year agreement between the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) overwhelmingly. The new contract ushers in improvements that will benefit students, families, and our schools, including improvements in wages, parental leave policies, hiring processes, school nurse staffing, and restorative justice practices to support students and families.
The contract, which covers the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, introduces policy updates for the start of the 2017-18 school year as BPS and the BTU continue to collaborate on shared priorities to foster safe, healthy, and welcoming schools.
The agreement included wage increases of 2% in fiscal 2017 and 3% in fiscal 2018. Major priorities of the contract included supports for the social emotional needs of students as well as additional supports for special education students. It ensures additional training for paraprofessionals who are supporting students with autism and emotional impairment. It moves the district closer to the goal of having a nurse in every school, extends access to the parental leave policy to second- and third-year teachers and paraprofessionals and grows promising restorative practice initiatives to help foster social-emotional learning.
“Restorative justice programs are a concrete solution to help students learn tools for conflict resolution,” said Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union “By addressing root causes, building relationships and community in schools, and avoiding punitive punishments such as suspensions and expulsions, restorative justice practices can help students to spend more time on learning. BTU educators are proud of our work to advance this and other priorities on behalf of our students, schools and the district we serve.”
The contract agreement also strengthens the ongoing collaboration between the BTU and BPS in a variety of areas, such as the first-ever BPS-BTU Teacher Summer Institute training workshop, which was held at Boston University in August. Teacher-led workshops were a key component of the Institute, and this contract creates a new teacher-leader innovation fund to support future educator led initiatives.
Applied Behavioral Analysis Specialists, who work with students with autism and special needs, ratified their first contract unanimously and with a standing ovation from other members after four years of negotiations. They are now full members of BTU.
In recent days, BTU educators have reached out to the public to correct misinformation and misperceptions in the media about working Boston educators on short term assignments. For reasons unrelated to their classroom performance, these highly qualified and talented educators lost their previous post (due to budget cuts or returning from maternity leave, for example) and are now working in schools on temporary assignments every day to help Boston students thrive while awaiting long term assignments that best suit their skills and expertise. While the contract does not change this long-standing practice that includes a competitive bidding process to place these sought-after educators, some media reports have mischaracterized “pool” teachers, their status, and the reasons they are on short term assignment.
The Boston School Committee is expected to ratify the agreement later this evening.
The Boston Teachers Union proudly represents more than 10,000 teachers, retirees and other education professionals including nurses, psychologists, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals, and related service providers. Together, we advocate for the interests of students, parents and education professionals throughout the Boston Public Schools. We support investment in public education to ensure a stronger future for our students and our city. As a union of educators, we are part of a movement that seeks to improve the quality of life for all working people and their children.