Several teachers and staff members came out to Monday’s night’s meeting to voice their concerns regarding the unresolved school contracts, hoping to gain a joint understanding with the school committee.
“In January when the new town council is put in, we need to continue to fight for the Winthrop Public Schools,” said Vasili Mallios, eighth grade math teacher and resident of precinct 5. “We cannot go in hearing a budget and seeing a deficit of over $300,000 just for level services. The teachers, ESP’s, nurses, secretaries and the school committee need to start fighting now so that we do not see teachers teaching out of certification and not meeting the needs of our students because of resources. We need to do what’s possible and we cannot let the town continue to use the excuse that we do not have enough money. When is that going to end? We want to make sure we are on the same page and we would love to work together to push the town in the direction we need to be in, in order for our schools to be successful and see our students thrive at the best possibilities that we can provide them as nurses, teachers, ESPs, secretaries and administrators.”
Former staff member, Joannie Singarella, shared her own experience, having to leave the district so she could earn a livable wage.
“I think it’s so despicable and disgusting that a contract cannot be resolved and they’ve gone on so long. I left a job that I absolutely loved to make a livable wage. I’m tired of the town saying they don’t have the money for the most important workers-the police, fire, and schools. It’s about time that the town gives staff livable wages so that teachers can continue to do what they absolutely love to do.”
In response to the teacher’s comments, School Committee Chair, Valentino Capobianco released a statement on behalf of the committee, outlining the timeline of negotiations. The last meeting between the school committee and the Winthrop Teacher’s Association was held on December 11, 2019, with a mediator appointed by the Department of Labor Relations. After several hours of discussion, two additional sessions have been scheduled for January 2020, in an attempt to come to an agreement.
Capobianco shared the following closing statement:
“Members of the Winthrop School Committee deeply value the Winthrop Teacher’s Association, our ESP’s, secretaries, nurses, custodians, staff, and most importantly our students. We need to continue to fund our school system beyond Chapter 70. It is our hope that we will reach an agreement that is fair to our staff, taxpayers, and driven towards student achievement.”