school committee 120517

Deal called 'truly historic' and 'made possible by override' vote

After months of closed-door negotiations, the Arlington School Committee and the teachers' union have inked a deal to provide enhanced compensation to employees -- including raises ranging between 9 and 13 percent. This is to take effect from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27, 2027, at the 11-campus Arlington Public Schools. And it was done in accordance with the public school district's overarching five-year strategic plan, officials say.

This vote for what is being formally termed a contract extension agreement occurred toward the beginning of last night's committe meeting, Thursday, May 23, and is described in a lengthy statement released earlier May 24.

The contract is with Unit A of the Arlington Education Association, which represents credentialed teachers of the Arlington Public Schools and also school nurses. This meeting, as others, was live-streamed online, broadcast on cable in real time and recorded for later posting online on YouTube by local nonprofit cable television station ACMi.

Other provisions include a bump-up in the rate paid for workshops, increased reimbursement for college courses taken by staffers, four weeks' parental leave, an increase in the number of staffers' children who can attend APS schools and a 50-percent cap on the number of students with individual education plans in any given general-education class. Children with IEPs are those with diagnosed disabilities, often including autism or other behavioral differences.

"These adjustments will improve Arlington’s ability to hire and retain highly qualified educators, the key to continued excellent public education in our district," the statement reads, in part. It also notes that "As a group, APS educators will be incentivized to maintain high attendance standards, as the agreement guarantees that if Unit A as a collective can achieve 95 percent attendance, they will earn a third personal day for the following year, subject to specific limitations."

Read the full formal statement here >>

The statement includes these quotes:

School Committee Chair Paul Schlichtman stated, “The district will be well-served by this new contract, which continues the collaborative and collegial relationship with the bargaining units we have developed in the APS. The town will continue to attract and retain high-quality educators and provide positive learning experiences for all students.”

AEA President Julianna Keyes said, “Educators in Arlington approached this round of negotiations with a focus on improving working conditions in alignment with the goals of the APS strategic plan. We are thankful to the people of Arlington for passing the override last November that enabled this agreement.  We look forward to the improved compensation and benefits going into effect in August, and the operational changes that will benefit all of our students in the coming school years.”

Superintendent Elizabeth Homan noted, “This new agreement is highly supportive of the implementation of the five-year strategic plan, which calls for building a collaborative and supportive culture for all staff, maintaining mutual accountability and high expectations that support the learning of all students and expanding opportunities for shared decision-making. This is truly a contract we can be proud of as a system, and I am grateful to the community for making it possible and to the bargaining teams for their hard and collaborative work on this agreement.”

This report based on a recent APS news release and YourArlington's files was published Friday, May 24, 2024.