Impasse Declared By School Committee on Teacher Union Negotiations

Update 12/15/2022 10 am: The Owl received the following correction from Ed McLoughlin, President of the WEA, published with his permission: “Thank you for your reporting on our negotiations with Weston’s School Committee. I’d like to clarify one thing. The WEA is not in agreement that we are at an impasse. The School Committee will be filing unilaterally with the Department of Labor that we are at an impasse. The WEA entered our meeting last night expecting to hear responses that were on the table from our prior meeting and instead received a best and final offer with no room for negotiation. The WEA remains committed to negotiating in good faith with those who were elected to run Weston’s schools. Signed, Ed McLoughlin.”

The Owl post has been edited to reflect the requested change. In addition, the Owl provides links to the WEA and School Committee communications as sent to this media page.


On Wednesday, December 14, the School Committee of Weston Public Schools declared an impasse in negotiations for a teacher contract to cover 2022-2025.

As the Owl covered last week, the impasse was not unexpected and is (subjectively) a sad place at which to arrive. Having lived in a country where public school strikes caused massive breaks in student education, and of course, coming out of a pandemic recent past where kids were forced into sub-optimal learning, the Owl is more than a little worried.

What’s next? Mediation. Please read the following School Committee communication which can be found on this site:


To the Weston Community,

Last month, the Weston School Committee provided a brief update on the status of negotiations between the Weston Public School District and its six labor unions. Our goal has always been to reach fair successor agreements that offer attractive compensation packages and work conditions across all of the District’s unions. 

Weston continues to be a leader in public employee compensation. Earlier this year, five of the six unions supported across-the-board salary increases of 5.75% over three years recognizing that Weston’s compensation package was already amongst the highest in the state.  

This evening, the School Committee’s collective-bargaining negotiating team informed the Weston Educators Association–the District’s sixth labor union consisting primarily of teachers–of its intention to seek assistance from a state-appointed mediator to help the parties move past our current impasse and reach agreement on a successor contract. Despite negotiating in good faith in 19 sessions spanning 10 months, during which the parties have reached agreement on a number of items of mutual interest, we have been unable to reach agreement on several other issues and are currently at an impasse. Weston is not alone, as many other districts, including Wellesley, Lexington, Watertown, Winchester, Medford, and Melrose, are similarly without successor agreements with their teachers unions. Wellesley also announced last week that it was seeking mediation. 

Mediation is the legally required next step, which we expect will keep negotiations moving toward an amicable agreement. By filing for mediation, both sides can obtain the professional support of a neutral third party and move quicker to an agreeable contract. The negotiation sessions will resume once a mediator is in place. 

Making forward progress in negotiations, with the assistance of a mediator, is important to help ensure the parties settle the contract this fiscal year. Failure to reach an agreement by the end of June could result in the District being required to return funds to the Town that were set aside for increases to 2022-2023 salaries. The School Committee strives for a fair successor agreement – one that respects and is fair to our teachers, as well as our students and the broader community that contribute greatly to the schools.       

Please look on our website over the next couple of days for more information and updates on the collective bargaining process. 


The Weston School Committee

Ken Newberg, Chair

Alyson Muzila, Vice-Chair

Attia Linnard

Maija Cirulis-Gooch

Jeff Lucas  


  • The School Committee insults our teachers and risks our kids, Amy my grandkids, education in the process. The raise they propose over 3 years is a big reduction in effective salary, given inflation since negotiations began many months ago and continuing. The attitude apparently is that they want to stop having the best paid teachers and to get rid of our most senior teachers to save money, at the rdisk of student’s education, in my opinion. If we want the best schools you compete for the best teachers and work like he’ll to keep them. This School Committee seems to care more about the near term budget than a long term wellbeing of the students, IMHO.

    • I am not sure this is a helpful comment. School Committee has kids in the school too. With negotiations behind closed doors, it is not for me to imagine what goes on. It is emotional and difficult…

      • Agreed, but if the SC wanted to counter the inevitable impression that their offer was a reduction in effective compensation, some public statements would help. Their statement describes our teachers high pay as a pproblem to be fixed. Seems coming on the heals of top school rating for Weston that high pay is part of the price for success, not a problem. They need to describe a plan to recruit and retain the state’s best teachers concurrent with their budget control strategy if they want to avoid criticism.

      • They have had a lot of communication on it—did you read my last Owl with links to their presentation? And I think you will find that budget control mandates are coming down from Fin Com…and voters who are getting less likely to vote for the budget. Let’s see.

      • School Committee and teachers going to mediation
        Thanks for sending me to more detailed information on the School Committee’s offer to the teachers. Their justification for their position is interesting, but I think flawed.
        I’d like to encourage the School Committee to raise it’s offer to the WEA in order to protect our property values, a factor not visibly factored into your position paper on your negotiation strategy and justification for mediation.
        I found a statement that concerns me relating to your current offer. “According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there is a strong correlation between school expenditures and home values. Thjeir report titled ‘School Spending Raises Property Values,’ found that for every dollar spent on public schools in an area, home values increased by $10. March 30, 2020.” I would imagine the multiplier is even higher in high priced real estate areas like ours. My contention is that our school expenditure driven taxes are high per household given the residential nature of the town, but the values of our residences are dependent on having very superior schools to coincide with our very high property values. Your statement says that the committee views the interests of the taxpayers as needing to protect retiring residents from needing to move out because of high taxes. I suggest that’s not a school or tax problem, but a housing diversity problem. Smaller, easier and cheaper to maintain, or even multi-family or condominium spaces in town more attractive for retirees have been resisted strongly but would provide a very attractive means for retirees to stay in town. Putting school quality at risk also puts at risk the value of retirees’ real estate which is often very key to a comfortable retirement when it is sold. Retirees like me don’t want the schools to bear the burden of caring for retirees living situation when it isn’t the Schools Committee’s problem to lower taxes but to advocate for and spend a superior school budget that results in very superior schools.
        The Select Board should worry about retiree living options, not the School Committee. Lack of commercial tax base is a choice as well, not a fixed fact. We set the zoning regulations for Weston and could rezone more land for commercial or larger residential developments to lower the burden on single family homes, if the town desired. High taxes and retiree living options are not a school problem alone, but the end product of many decisions completely unrelated to school staff compensation or the concern of the school committee.
        The value proposition most important in the negotiations is how do school staff salaries contribute to producing the highest performing school system in the state to go along with the highest tax burden and highest property values. What is the committee’s strategy for ensuring every parent views Weston Schools as the best public school option for their children anywhere, and that school rating organizations consistently put Weston at or nearly at the top? The size of the budget will be what it will be. To not succeed in achieving that level of school performance puts too much at risk financially for all of us here in town. We need to outcompete other high performing towns for the best teachers, administrators, and support staff. Being one of the best places to teach in the state is admirable, but offering raises of 5.75% in the face of inflation that caused the Social Security Administration to raise my SSA benefits by 8.7% for next year to compensate for the inflation increases in 2022, is an offer that is in effect a reduction in compensation, not even keeping staff current with inflation. Reducing effective compensation will harm our “best places to teach” assessment quickly, as well as communicate to staff and residents alike that the committee’s strategy is to reduce our effective level of expenditures and that school staff should not expect future compensation to keep pace with inflation or competing towns, let alone alternative lines of work.
        Also, comparing our compensation packages with other similarly sized schools, none of which have our property values, is a misleading comparison and a dangerous way to look at the issue, I think. We need to be leading the market for compensating school staff and not being worried about getting ahead of the “market.”

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