Collaborative effort leads to improvements in wages, parental leave, hiring flexibility, and more
BOSTON — Thursday, August 24, 2017 — Today, the Boston School Committee and the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) have mutually announced an agreement on a two-year Boston Public Schools (BPS) teachers contract that brings improvements that will benefit students, families, and our schools. The agreement includes improvements in wages, parental leave policies, hiring processes, school nurse staffing, and restorative justice practices.
The two-year agreement, retroactive to fiscal 2017, will introduce policy updates for the start of the 2017-18 school year as BPS and the BTU continue to collaborate on shared priorities of fostering safe, healthy, and welcoming schools.
“We are all pleased to announce an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract as we begin the 2017-18 school year,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This agreement provides reforms that will make it easier for schools to hire effective teachers, reasonable wage increases, more access to parental leave, and increased supports for our most vulnerable students.”
“The Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Public Schools share the common priority of having safe and healthy schools that provide enriching educational experiences and opportunities for our students,” said Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union. “The BTU advocates not just for the interests of educators, but for students, parents, and the school district we serve. This agreement will have a positive impact on our schools, and it represents just one piece of the work involved in our partnership with the Boston Public Schools.”
After 18 months of contract negotiations, this agreement supports wage increases of 2% in fiscal 2017 and 3% in fiscal 2018 for teachers and paraprofessionals. It also allows for school leaders to more easily facilitate the process of hiring teachers and paraprofessionals earlier in the school year, which has shown to result in more effective teachers in classrooms.
The contract, which covers the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, also ensures properly trained paraprofessionals are supporting students with autism and emotional impairment. In addition, it increases the numbers of nurses in schools, extends access to the parental leave policy to second- and third-year teachers and paraprofessionals — bringing them in line with the City’s parental leave policy — and grows the promising Restorative Practice initiative to help foster social-emotional learning in a way that is aligned with the BPS Code of Conduct.
“This agreement is a prudent step forward, and a representation of a reasonable meeting of the minds for all parties involved,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill. “It provides reasonable financial support for our teachers, paraprofessionals, and other members of the BTU while also allowing for reasonable steps forward in the autonomy of hiring and supports for our most vulnerable students. As the school year begins, it is critical that our focus is on teaching and learning, and this agreement makes that possible. I look forward to the full Boston School Committee considering this tentative agreement during our September meetings.”
The Boston School Committee is expected to discuss the contract on September 6 and vote whether to approve or deny the contract on September 13.
BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang said the contract agreement strengthens the ongoing collaboration with the BTU in a variety of areas, such as the first-ever BPS-BTU Teacher Summer Institute training workshop, which was held at Boston University this week.
“This agreement represents a renewed focus on collaboration between the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union as we work toward shared common goals around creating safe, healthy, and sustaining learning environments for all students,” said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. “This collaboration will only help us as we continue to work together with the BTU on resolving future matters of mutual interest.”
Parties from BPS and the BTU have agreed to resume contract negotiations soon for the period beginning September 1, 2018.
About Boston Public Schools
The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 57,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life.