Boston public-school teachers will get 2% annual raises for the next three years under a contract deal with BPS under which BPS will also hire enough nurses to ensure at least one at every school, hire more mental-health professionals and reduce class sizes for kindergarteners whose native language is not English.
The contract terms - which make the raises retroactive to last summer when the old contract ran out - mean BPS will hire 22 new school nurses and 23 mental-health professionals - and will reduce "sheltered English immersion" kindergarten class sizes from 25 to 22. BPS will also ensure every pre-K and kindergarten class has a paraprofessional in addition to a teacher. Low-paid paraprofessionals will get a $1 hourly wage increase.
Additional investments aimed at better supporting high needs students include increasing wages for teachers at lower performing schools to better recruit and retain effective educators, and increasing compensation for language acquisition team facilitators.
In a statement, Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang said:
The agreement reflects a shared commitment by the BTU and by BPS to ensuring the best educational experience possible for every single student, including and especially for our most vulnerable and highest need students. Our shared focus on student health, student homelessness, and stronger inclusion practices shines through in this agreement.
The deal also codifies how BPS should deal with teachers who are no longer permanently assigned to a specific class. According to BPS:
The new contract also strengthens the district’s continuous commitment to a process called mutual consent hiring, which gives school principals/headmasters and their communities greater ability to hire effective educators to meet their schools’ unique needs, which includes removing some traditional constraints such as forced hiring based on seniority. The district first adopted mutual consent hiring in 2014, and the new contract reflects further advancements in this practice.
According to the teachers union:
Some public reports have previously mischaracterized these educators as "unassigned" when in fact they go to work serving the students of BPS every day on temporary assignments while awaiting long-term placements within BPS that leverage their talents for the benefit of students and school communities.
Under the agreement, BPS and BTU will pilot an initiative that guarantees interviews to these experienced educators who apply to a minimum positions for which they are qualified. Many educators have voiced concerns that teachers on temporary assignments may have been denied interviews based on their age. The pilot will also temporarily suspend building-based attachment rights for educators who are hired into long-term positions after they have been in the temporary assignment workforce for one year.
Teachers are tentatively scheduled to vote on the new deal on June 12. The School Committee also has to approve.
Teachers are tentatively set to vote June 12 on the contract. The School Committee also has to approve.