Newton teachers boycott back-to-school convocation over contract dispute

Newton North High School. (Monica Brady-Myerov/WBUR)
Newton North High School. (Monica Brady-Myerov/WBUR)

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The skies should clear up for tonight’s super-rare blue supermoon. Don’t miss it, or you’ll have to wait over 13 years to see another one. For what it’s worth, a blue supermoon doesn’t really look any different than a normal supermoon, but this one will be the biggest of 2023 since the moon will be super close to Earth — just 222,043 miles away.

But we begin today’s newsletter 10 miles west of Boston:

Newton teachers’ fight for a new contract is spilling into public view, starting this morning. The Newton Teachers Association says its members will boycott a traditional convocation today held for staff on the first day back from summer break. According to the union, the ceremony is usually voluntary, but school district officials wrote that attendance is “expected” this year, with Massachusetts Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler slated to attend. In response, the union first planned a rally outside convocation. But now, they’re boycotting.

  • What they’re saying: “We’re not going to attend under a directive,” Michael Zilles, the NTA’s president, told WBUR’s Dave Faneuf. “We’re going to remain in our building in order to protest both the directive and the lack of a fair contract.”
  • The backstory: Newton’s contract with the NTA expires this Thursday. And the union says the annual cost-of-living raises (1.5%-2% each year) that the city is offering in the talks over the new contract do not keep up with inflation or nearby districts.
  • What’s next: Newton Superintendent of Schools Anna Nolin says the mediator recently appointed by the state to help negotiate a new contract will be meeting with both sides individually later this week. Until a deal is reached, the Newton School Committee is telling parents to expect to see teachers demonstrating outside buildings before and after class as students return to school.

Boston is feeling the effects of Hurricane Idalia in the form of flight cancellations at Logan Airport. According to the website FlightAware, there have already been 20 cancellations in and out of the airport —many of which are JetBlue flights to Tampa and other points in the south.

PSA: Eversource is warning customers that their personal information may have been exposed as part of a worldwide data breach. While there’s no evidence bank accounts or Social Security numbers were leaked, Eversource says some information like customer names, addresses, contact information and utility accounts were exposed.

Boston will no longer force couples to pick their sex or gender on marriage licenses. City officials announced yesterday that they are doing away with gender markers on the forms in order to be more inclusive to residents who identify as transgender or nonbinary.

A deal for football fans: The MBTA’s special commuter rail train to Gillette Stadium for Patriots home games will cost just $10 roundtrip this season — half the price of what they cost in years past.

  • Train tickets are now on sale for the Patriots’ Sept. 10 home-opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on the T’s mTicket app. (For the rest of the season, they’ll go on sale at 11 a.m. on the Monday before each game.)
  • What to expect: There are two trains — one that leaves Boston and one that leaves Providence (each making a few stops on the way). Both drop off across the street from Gillette Stadium about 90 minutes before kick-off and leave 30 minutes after each game ends. Check here for schedule details closer to game day.

P.S.— Want to help shape the journalism you hear on-air, online and in newsletters like this one? Come attend one of our two listening sessions next week (Sept. 5 in Chelsea and Sept. 9 in Lawrence). There’ll be free refreshments and WBUR journalists will be on hand, ready to listen to what’s on your mind.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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