The WEA initially requested that as of July 1, all specialist teachers at the elementary level (art, music, library, physical education) be guaranteed 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions at each elementary school. The School Committee could not support this request, given that in all instructional positions across the district, staffing levels are determined by current enrollment, student needs, and programming/curriculum, and are not subject to mandatory collective bargaining.
Wellesley’s system of small neighborhood schools means that there are usually not enough students to support 1.0 full-time equivalent specialist teachers at each location. In order to provide the most effective and efficient staffing of specialist teachers across the neighborhood school model, it has been a longstanding practice for many of these specialist teachers to travel between buildings.
The School Committee understands the concerns raised by the WEA with respect to the FTE calculation for specialists. Contingent on agreement to an overall package, the Committee agrees to create a Task Force to study specialist teacher assignments after the upcoming school building closures and openings are complete. The Task Force’s membership would be composed of members from the administration and the WEA, and may make recommendations to the Committee based on its study. The Committee offers this compromise in good faith and in recognition of the WEA’s desire for input into this calculation; however, the SC must retain the right to make staffing and level of service decisions with respect to this issue.
On May 8, the Committee agreed to commence the task force in the Spring of 2025, subject to approval of the final package.