School Committee statement: Teachers have received ‘last best offer’

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Following is a statement the Hopkinton School Committee released Monday night.

The Hopkinton School Committee tonight made a last best offer to the Hopkinton Teachers Association (HTA) regarding a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) related to working conditions and school-year expectations as we return to school during the pandemic.

Hopkinton Public Schools will open with a hybrid learning model on Wednesday, September 16, that is based on the district’s reopening plan. The plan was thoughtfully compiled by a number of stakeholders, including members of the HTA. Informed by scientific data, the plan attends to the health, safety and well-being of everyone in the school community. Uppermost in our mind, as ever, are the needs of our students. In concert with the members of the RAG, we decided upon a hybrid model which calls for 75% of the district’s students to attend school in-person on an every-other day basis.

On September 9, 2020, the HTA membership rejected a proposal which had been tentatively endorsed by HTA leadership at the bargaining table on September 4th. We believe the rejection was in large part because the agreement included a plan to live-stream a small group of classes to 145 elected-remote high school general education students, and it also provided live-streaming to fulfill the needs of some remote special education students.

“We have worked collaboratively and at length with the HTA to address with care the union concerns regarding safety, child care for teachers, flexibility in work location, and remote instruction for a hybrid reopening. We have heard and care deeply about the teachers’ concerns,” said Amanda Fargiano, chairperson of the Hopkinton School Committee. “While in-person instruction is ideal, we know that some students and families have health and other concerns that guided their decisions to elect remote learning.  To ensure these students have access to our outstanding Hopkinton teachers and their classmates through live streaming, we offered the union both technical support and an additional stipend. We hope the HTA will approve the MOA and recognize how important live-streaming is for this small number of students who must 1) be able to stay connected to Hopkinton High School (HHS), its teachers and students, 2) continue learning progressions established in HHS and preserve the ability to return to HHS classes seamlessly next year, and 3) maintain the option to transition to in-person hybrid learning and rejoin classmates later in the year as conditions allow.”

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