Brookline Select Board & School Committee: Transfer the Funds!
A Crisis for Brookline Schools
Right now, there is a crisis in the Public Schools of Brookline. Limits on staffing, lack of common planning time, and pay that is not keeping pace with inflation are all contributing to the danger of a mass exodus from the teaching profession nationally. Brookline educators are also facing added disrespect caused by the lack of a contract due to the untenable proposals of the school committee. Not only has the school committee rejected the proposals of the educators, including ones designed to hire and retain staff of color, they want to make staff work a longer day for no more pay, remove long-standing grievance rights, and diminish the exercise of teacher autonomy. In addition, they have threatened to take advantage of a law that could allow them to jettison collective bargaining and impose their package of proposals. This stance is damaging morale and making the district less attractive to talented educators.
“Let us be clear,” Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, wrote in a December 21, 2021 letter about federal funds for schools: The “ARP [American Rescue Plan] provides vital resources to hire additional educators and school staff and to improve compensation to recruit and retain educators and school staff.” Furthermore, he said the funds called ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) can be used to “support educator and staff well-being, including improved working conditions.” Tens of millions of dollars are in the hands of elected Brookline officials to be used immediately to supplement or as a bridge to other sources of funds.
I join the Brookline educators in calling on the Brookline Select Board to…
Request that the Superintendent and School Committee submit a proposal for the use of the ARPA stabilization funds immediately and then disburse them to the schools without delay.
Insist that the School Committee redirect ESSER monies to help fund an overdue and fair contract.
Urge the School Committee and the Select Board to find any additional funds needed to settle a fair contract with educators without delay, to stabilize, increase the diversity of, and retain the school workforce with fair pay, proper staffing, and respect for collective bargaining.
Advocate for and initiate an immediate town-wide override to ensure Brookline’s schools have the longer term resources needed to deliver the best quality education for our students.