A Massachusetts public school district closed its schools after educators, who average over $100,000 salaries, voted to strike over stalled negotiations between the district and union on increased compensation and educator diversity, according to local news reports.
Public Schools of Brookline closed its doors to students on Monday, May 16, in preparation for a teacher strike. Superintendent Linus Guillory said the Brookline School Committee and the local teachers union, Brookline Educators Union, failed to reach an agreement after four rounds of mediation, according to a statement.
“There will simply not be the staffing capacity to operate all schools safely, nor can [the school district] provide the structured education required by the state for the day to legally count as a school day,” Guillory said.
Mediators declared an impasse right before 4 a.m. on Sunday following nine hours of fourth-round negotiations, according to local news outlet WCVB. On Thursday, May 12, members of the Brookline Educators Union voted to strike Monday if the district and union failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.
“Brookline educators have been working for nearly three years without a contract that addresses fair and reasonable compensation as well as working conditions that meet the realities of a modern, comprehensive education,” the union said in a statement.
Following over eight and a half hours of bargaining through the night, the Brookline School Committee failed to address the issues necessary to reach a contract agreement with the Brookline Educators Union, forcing educators to strike beginning Monday. pic.twitter.com/ukeqXWBdVG
— Brookline BEU (@BeuBrookline) May 15, 2022
“There’s a certain point, I think, and it’s happening in the country, where public school teachers are saying, ‘I put my life on the line for this community and you fought me every step of the way on that, and now I will not do this anymore,” said union President Jessica Wender-Shubow, according to WCVB.
The union’s primary concerns for educators include wages, educator diversity, and increased teacher preparation time. (RELATED: Los Angeles Teachers Union Wants Student Loans Forgiven For ‘Teacher Appreciation Week’)
Public Schools of Brookline reportedly offered the union a 6% across-the-board increase in all wages, a second 8% wage increase on Sept. 1, 2023, and an additional 1% wage increase on Aug. 30, 2026.
Teachers in Brookline earn an average income of over $100,000, according to the most recent available data from the Massachusetts Department of Education. Brookline teachers earn, on average, approximately $37,000 above the average nationwide teacher salary of $63,645.
It is unclear whether Brookline students will return to the classroom on Tuesday. The district announced a fifth round of negotiations with the union on Monday night.
Public Schools of Brookline referred the Daily Caller to the superintendent’s statement. The Brookline Educators Union did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.