City, BPS teachers reach agreement on contract

After an 18-month negotiation, the Boston Public Schools and Boston Teachers Union have reached an agreement on a two-year contract, according to a press release.

The agreement includes improvements to wages, parental leave policies, and hiring processes. The contract, which retroactively covers the 2016 to 2017 school year as well as the 2017 to 2018 school year, covers a brief time period compared to the previous teacher’s contract, which was six years.

“We are all pleased to announce an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract as we begin the 2017-2018 school year,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, according to the press release. “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 contract supports wage increases of 2 percent for 2017 and 3 percent for 2018 for teachers and paraprofessionals. The agreement also enables school leaders to hire teachers and paraprofessionals earlier in the school year, which has been shown to result in more effective teachers in classrooms.

The contract ensures that students with autism and emotional impairment are being supported by properly trained paraprofessionals, increases numbers of nurses in schools, and expands the restorative practice initiative, which helps foster social-emotional learning. It also extends access to the parental leave policy to second- and third-year teachers and professionals, which is parallel to the City’s parental leave policy.

“This agreement is a prudent step forward, and a representation of a reasonable meeting of the minds for all parties involved,” said School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill, according to the press release. “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 School Committee is expected to have discussed the contract on Sept. 6, after the Gazette deadline, and will vote whether to approve or deny the contract on Sept. 13.

As the contract only extends to the end of school year 2017 to 2018, parties from BPS and BTU have agreed to resume contract negotiations again soon for the period beginning Sept. 1, 2018.

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