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