Dear Members of the WPS Community,
We are writing to update you on the status of collective bargaining with the Wellesley Educators Association, and to share with you a detailed look at the package we presented on behalf of the School Committee to the WEA yesterday afternoon during our mediation session.
Recognizing that this was our last scheduled mediation session, we wanted to ensure that the Committee’s proposal built on the progress already made through negotiations and included a final, targeted attempt to further address compensation for our lowest paid employees. The offer we presented to the WEA represents our last, best offer, which increased the total compensation package by $1.8 million over four years, concentrating all of this additional funding on those members of our support staff in Units C, D, and E.
Taken together, this compensation package would keep our teachers among the highest paid in Massachusetts, and would also significantly increase the annual compensation of colleagues who play critical support roles in the district, such as teaching assistants and paraprofessionals. We have broken down this package in great detail across each job classification to help ensure clarity on what these compensation increases would look like for our staff members across all units.
We heard – and agreed with – the members of the community and WEA who urged us to work harder to further increase the pay of our lowest paid staff members. With a great deal of creativity, our bargaining team was able to present a compensation structure that would immediately further boost pay for these employees. As an example, a first-year elementary teaching assistant with current potential earnings of $25,413 this school year would see an increase to approximately $32,275 this year, and up to $36,205 of potential earnings at the end of the four years. We have provided more details on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
We presented this package directly to the WEA bargaining team in our session yesterday. Then through the mediator, we agreed to two of their counter proposals related to elementary specialists and elementary morning duties, pending approval of the final package. The session ended after 10 p.m. with no resolution.
We believe that what the Committee has offered not only provides the largest possible compensation increases across all units, but also provides significant additional benefits from the last contractual agreement (2019-22) between the two parties, including:
- We have met some of the WEA’s requests for parental leave.
- We have agreed to increase the minimum guaranteed individual prep and planning time from 120 minutes weekly to 150 minutes for classroom teachers at the elementary level.
- We have agreed to the WEA’s requested language for due process for Unit C.
For more information on compensation and the School Committee’s perspective on other issues, please review our FAQ or watch tonight’s School Committee meeting, when we will provide an update on mediation beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be available for livestreaming on Wellesley Public Media.
The School Committee was pleased to bring forward such a generous package to the WEA last night and remains hopeful that the membership will consider ratifying a new contract based on these proposals.
Linda Chow and Catherine Mirick
Members of the School Committee Bargaining Team