A new round of mediation between Brookline teachers and school administration began at 5 o’clock Monday evening but no deal has been reached yet. The school district says it will have a decision by 6 a.m. whether school will take place Tuesday.
Meanwhile, when picketing outside Brookline Town Hall and the public schools wrapped up for the day, teachers took their case to Zoom where they spoke with parents and students about why they walked off the job.
“We are deeply, deeply, deeply committed to working with our students,” said teacher Alisa Conner. “We are at this step of drastic action only because we have not been heard at the bargaining table for years.”
Teachers have been without a contract for three years. Recent negotiations have taken place through a mediator but there’s been no deal and teachers say they were left without a choice but to strike.
“This was not frivolous,” said teacher Melissa London. “This was not a tantrum, we are at great risk financially, we are at great risk for angering the community.”
Teachers say they’re fighting for better pay, strengthening teacher diversity, and they want 40 minutes set aside each day for prep time to help get their work done.
“I work from 8 o’clock until 5 o’clock without stopping,” said teacher Astrid Allen. “Without going to the bathroom, without eating lunch most days of the week.”
In a statement Monday, the school committee asked the teachers to cease and desist all strike activity so “...we can focus our joint efforts on bargaining toward successful resolution. Brookline students must not be the victims of this situation any longer than they already have.”
The strike is a big concern for students.
“We have some big things due, like a research paper for social studies,” said high school student Eric Situ. “I feel like that’s going to get messed up.”
“Practice was canceled today since the school is pretty much closed,” said high school volleyball player Kristaps Vaivars. ”And that’s not too good for the team since we have a game tomorrow and another game this week.”