As the Newton teacher strike reached a milestone—a week, one of the longest teacher strikes in recent American history—23 of the 24 members of the City Council has joined together in an open letter to the Newton Teachers Association, the School Committee and Ruthanne Fuller urging all parties to work toward a real compromise and get the schools back open.
The one absent signature was that of Ward 5 Councilor Bill Humphrey, who has publicly and vocally supported the NTA and the strike.
The letter, in its entirety, reads as follows:
Dear Mayor Fuller, Members of the School Committee, and the Newton Teachers Association:
We are writing to urge you to reach a fair, sustainable agreement between the School Committee and Newton Teachers Association. We are listening to all stakeholders, and we agree: Newton needs to do better. We need to support each other, and we need our schools open for learning immediately.
We have great respect for the teachers and staff in the Newton Public Schools, the elected leaders on the School Committee, our superintendent, and our Mayor. We acknowledge the gap that exists between NPS and the NTA remains significant and we believe that new and creative options need to be brought to the forefront of the negotiations.
We hope to see a resolution that gives our superintendent the resources and flexibility to effectively run our schools, and that fairly and thoughtfully addresses monetary and non-monetary issues so that we can give our students the best education possible. This means that concessions by all parties are necessary.
The School Committee has proposed adding a fourth year to the contract as one way to create a framework all parties can get behind. We applaud that creative thinking. But it only works if there is compromise on both sides. We ask Mayor Fuller to provide the School Committee with additional funds for this fourth year and the NTA to make equally meaningful concessions to reach a true compromise. While we understand that there are risks with any financial commitments, we believe that these are reasonable risks for us to bear. We are committed to explore and utilize the financial tools at the city’s disposal to find a viable, long-term solution.
We need to find a solution now so we can get our students and teachers back in school.
Marc Laredo, President and Councilor-at-Large, Ward 7
David Kalis, Vice President and Councilor-at-Large, Ward 8
Alison Leary, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 1
John Oliver, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 1
Maria Greenberg, Ward Councilor, Ward 1
Susan Albright, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 2
Tarik Lucas, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 2
David Micley, Ward Councilor, Ward 2
Andrea Kelley, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 3
Pamela Wright, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 3
Julia Malakie, Ward Councilor, Ward 3
Joshua Krintzman, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 4
Leonard Gentile, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 4
Randall Block, Ward Councilor, Ward 4
Andreae Downs, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 5
Rena Getz, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 5
Martha Bixby, Ward Councilor, Ward 6
Vicki Danberg, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 6
Alan Lobovits, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 6
Rebecca Grossman, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 7
R. Lisle Baker, Ward Councilor, Ward 7
Richard Lipof, Councilor-at-Large, Ward 8
Stephen Farrell, Ward Councilor, Ward 8