Newton teachers’ strike over, students back to school Monday

Newton’s teacher strike is over.

The Newton Teachers Association announced Friday night that a deal had been reached with the School Committee for a new contract, ending the 15-day strike that brought the district to its knees.

“We know that this was far too long to be out on strike, and it was far too much of a disruption in our students’ and their families’ lives,” NTA President Michael Zilles said. “It should not have gone on this long, but it did. And we are grateful—grateful—that our community stood behind us to this very moment.”

Zilles said the union would vote on it this weekend. The School Committee is set to vote on it Saturday. And that means students will be back in classrooms Monday morning.

“This contract reflects our values including respect for our educators,” the School Committee wrote in a statement Friday night. “It reinforces and expands meaningful support for students; meaningfully increases compensation for all employees, particularly our building and classroom aides; maintains Newton as a leader in benefits; and provides important flexibility for our leaders to strengthen and innovate our system.”

Ryan Normandin of the NTA said the contract increases students’ access to mental health services, increases paid parental leave and family leave, raises pay for support staff and more.

“These changes will allow Newton to attract and retain these vital professionals and allow them to continue to do the amazing work they do every single day supporting Newton’s children,” Normandin said.

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller celebrated the end of the teachers’ strike in an email to the city.

“We are thrilled to get students and teachers back in their classrooms,” Fuller wrote. “We are also thrilled to settle a new four-year contract that honors the tremendous work our teachers do – a contract the city can afford – a contract that serves our students.”

Earlier Friday, a Middlesex judge had ordered the NTA to pay $100,000 a day in fines if the strike continued past this weekend. Zilles said the union will pay the fines it has already incurred.