Newton teachers union, school district reach tentative deal

The Newton teachers union rallied for a new contract in August outside Newton City Hall.
The Newton teachers union rallied for a new contract in August outside Newton City Hall. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File photo

After 15 months of negotiations, the Newton teachers union and the school district announced a tentative agreement for a new contract Tuesday night.

No details about the deal were released Tuesday night, which was praised by both sides in separate statements.

Michael Zilles, the president of the Newton Teachers Association, said in an e-mail to members Tuesday that more information about the agreement would be available as soon as possible.

“We believe this agreement is a major win for all members of the NTA,” the e-mail said.

In an interview, Zilles said he was proud of the union’s 2,100 members.


“It’s just been a long struggle and I am proud that our membership stood behind us through the whole thing and I think it’s the fact that we had such solidarity in our union that we were able to stand fast and win this contract,” he said by telephone Tuesday evening.

Ruth Goldman, chairwoman of the Newton School Committee, and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in separate statements that they are pleased that the committee’s negotiating team, joined by city Chief Financial Officer Maureen Lemieux, reached a tentative agreement.

“We fully believe this settlement reflects how much we cherish all our educators and the talent and dedication they bring to our children and our school communities every day,” Goldman said.

Fuller said: “This agreement embodies the respect I have for the people who are the heart and soul of the Newton Public Schools.”

The protracted talks for a new agreement had been criticized by union members, and they didn’t participate in voluntary committees and other activities to call attention to the status of the contract.

In August, shortly before the start of the school year, more than 500 people rallied outside City Hall demand action on a contract.


Zilles had said in a previous interview at the time that the union sought a 12 percent raise over four years, changes in parental leave, and pay increases for behavior therapists.

Those therapists often work outside their usual hours, Zilles said. The schools had been offering yearly increases of about 2 to 2¼ percent each year, he said at the time.

In Tuesday’s e-mail, Zilles said the union will end its contract campaign and participate in those meetings.

“Most importantly, we can again turn our undivided attention back to where we most want to put it--educating our students,” Zilles said in the e-mail. “And we can do so knowing our union is strong, and that our solidarity has won us the respect we deserve!”

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com