Archive 2008 - 2019

Holliston Teachers are Working Toward a Fair Contract

by Jamie Cutone

Dear Holliston Community Members,

The leadership of the Holliston Federation of Teachers (HFT), the organization that represents all teachers, paraprofessionals and secretaries in the Holliston Public Schools, wanted to provide an update to the community on the state of teacher contract negotiations between the HFT and the Holliston School Committee. While we feel confident that this process will ultimately produce a mutually agreeable contract, we also feel that given the extended state of negotiations, it is appropriate for the public to be made aware of the current situation.

The HFT and the School Committee have engaged in 13 negotiation sessions for a successor contract since December 2016. Despite thoughtful effort on both sides, this process has not produced an agreeable contract. You may be unaware, but teachers have been working under an expired contract since the start of the school year. Nonetheless, teachers continue to provide the high-quality, innovative teaching, supervision of sports and extra-curricular activities, and community participation that the community has enjoyed for years and years. The two parties have decided to engage an impartial mediator to help guide the conversation toward reaching a mutually satisfactory contract.

While we have made a great deal of progress on many areas of the CBA, our primary area of contention remains in reference to compensation. The HFT fully understands the challenging economic times faced by Holliston, but remains committed to attaining a compensation package that at the very least matches the rate of inflation in our community.

Holliston teachers have been plagued by stagnant wage growth over the past seven years. Many educators in Holliston have not received a cost of living adjustment since 2009, making it very difficult for teachers to provide for their families. In addition, the cost of town health insurance premiums has increased annually by 8-15%. Lower teacher salaries and fewer benefits can be detrimental to the district in the long run when faced with retaining and recruiting highly qualified educators.

The Holliston Public School District is one of the most highly rated districts in the state, but teachers in Holliston make less than peers in similar communities. Holliston teachers are devoted to their jobs and their students and pledge that this contract dispute will not affect their professionalism and dedication. The leadership of the HFT is fully committed to keeping the community updated on this process and looks forward to providing further updates after the first mediation session on December 4, 2017.

Jaime Cutone, HFT President
Holliston Federation of Teachers

Comments (14)

I would like to establish that the James Pennypacker commenting below is in no way related to myself or Cody.

Trevor Pennypacker | 2017-12-11 13:00:49

Hi James. The town annual report gives net pay to employees. This includes stipended extracurricular positions, such as coaching and club administration, as well as adjustments to pay due to unpaid leave such. It is not contracted salary amounts.

Brad | 2017-12-07 09:15:52

Hi John. I count at least ten making six figures (who are not designated as administrators or principals), with plenty more making 90K+. You probably believe that is a fair salary for an experienced teacher to make in a year, but I think that is an obscene amount of money for any public school teacher to make, even an experienced, well-educated one. Thanks for the link though.

James Pennypacker | 2017-12-06 12:07:08

James - Here is the Annual Report from 2016. The teacher salaries start on page 136. I'm having a really hard time finding the ones over 6 to help me out? Don't think you'll have much luck though....

John | 2017-12-05 14:35:29

Our teachers should get paid. My kids wake up everyday excited to go to school and I cannot put a price tag on that. I know we will all have our differences in opinion but I have lived in towns with great school systems (Newton) and not so great (not naming here as its unfair) and Holliston stacks up very well with Newton. Our home prices increase because of so many families wanting to get into our school system. Lets pay the teachers so they can concentrate on our kids and not contract issues.

Bill | 2017-12-04 08:28:42

These teachers deserve the best. I am offended to hear people say, "They make enough, I know." Clearly, you do not know, for you do not listen when they tell you, "That is simply not true." For how wonderful my teachers were and how successfully they made sure I was ahead of the crowd, they deserve more.

Morgan | 2017-12-03 21:25:35

Jim Donnegal, thank you; for your brilliant satirical comment regarding the present plight of our Holliston teachers' dead locked contract negotiations. Reading it reminded me of Irish writer Jonathan Swift's famous "A Modest Proposal" solution for dealing with starving Catholic children in 18th century Ireland. Certainly educators in our bucolic Holliston are not starving but according to HFT President Jaime Cutone's letter the teachers' have incurred an annual increase in health care costs of 8 -15%: not a starvation condition but certainly a severe and unacceptable crimp in their family's net income. Holliston has an excellent school system whose success has come about through the experience, expertise, and hard work of our dedicated teaching staff. Hopefully the neutral arbitrator will resolve this contract impasse positively in the teacher's favor. Bill Dooling 37 Spring St

Bill Dooling | 2017-12-03 19:37:06

Everyone seems to focus on the highest paid of the teachers. Yes, they make a good living, achieved after years of being in the trenches. They are the most experienced, highly educated educators around. If you'd like to get rid of them to "save money", you'd be called out on ageism (most of those top earners are older teachers), and the ensuing rift with the union (not to mention courts) wouldn't be worth it. And if you think teaching is a "phone it in" job, try standing in front of a classroom with twenty-something pairs of eyes upon you and not bringing your A-game.You have to be prepared for this... and that prep takes time, time that is OUTSIDE of the school day. Don't for a moment think that teachers can show up on the first day of school, 5 minutes before the bell, and be ready, never logging an extra minute of work outside the traditional school day.

Vince Packard | 2017-12-03 08:46:47

Just to keep the argument factual

irene Campbell | 2017-12-03 05:28:12

To All HFT Members, As a neighboring community (Franklin) we understand and support your struggles! Our "jobs" do not end with the bell, but continue long after students leave - for the day - or the year. Hold fast! Your colleagues support you! Franklin Education Association President

Donna Grady | 2017-12-02 10:17:04

20 years ago the same issues, the same positions at a stalemate. The community is still divided on the value of their teaching staff and compensation. The same "they only work 10 months" argument. Reality is most teachers work/study unpaid beyond the 180 days in their contract. Why? Because they are dedicated to their chosen profession. All "public" employees deal with the reality of their compensation being public information and the criticism that goes with that reality, but rarely do the numbers truly reflect the time commitment and dedication of these individuals. Hopefully the "process" will lead to a fair and equitable solution soon.

Terry Stewart | 2017-12-02 08:18:12

Totally agree. It's high time that we pay our teachers less. Hold the line! Hopefully, these "servants" wise up and go to some other town / sucker who will compensate them fairly. It's not like people move here for the schools. Once these fat cats back away from the public trough, hopefully we can get some less qualified teachers who know how to grovel while we barely pay them. That's how you do it!!

Jim Donnegal | 2017-12-01 20:18:34

These teachers are already making enough money for only working 10 months.

Bill Steiner | 2017-12-01 15:12:54

Even though the school committee did not include individual teacher salaries in this year's "detailed budget", I know for a fact there are a number of teachers making six figures in Holliston. They are public servants being paid an obscene amount of money to work ten months out of the year and then, like clockwork, they play the victim when contract negotiations start up. If they wanted to live a life of splendor, they should have worked in the private sector!

James Pennypacker | 2017-12-01 09:22:49