John Kotch
Local President
Massachusetts Teachers Association

Dear John, 

Since our inception, Hamilton-Wenham SOS (Support our Schools) has been fully dedicated to protecting and supporting one of our towns’ greatest assets — our school teachers.

We, and the citizens’ organizations that came before us, managed to pass seven overrides in increasingly difficult economic times on the strength of our commitment to our teachers. When voters learned of potential reductions to the teaching staff, they voted to preserve those positions, even though the result has been steeply increased taxes that affect every homeowner in our towns.

But now we face together a very different political and economic climate. As we’re sure you’re aware, Dr. McGrath has laid out the potential necessary cuts to the school budget. If all reductions are needed, 16.8 full-time equivalent teaching positions will be eliminated.

To forestall that loss, we must look for solutions in places where we haven’t yet looked. Towards that end, SOS asks the Teachers Union to consider contractual concessions to preserve the targeted teaching positions and maintain the quality of our school district.

In making this request, we take our inspiration from our two towns, both of which plan to renegotiate contacts with town employees for FY10, as well as from President Obama, who lauded in his inaugural address “the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job.”

We understand this suggestion comes at a time when teachers, like everyone else, are grappling with rising costs and continuing economic uncertainty, and we are appreciative that your membership would consider these bold moves under trying circumstances.

Indeed, concessions would help not only to balance the school budget, but to restore much-needed equanimity between the various interest groups in our towns. Should the teachers union agree to any concessions, we’d do our best to make sure our communities were well informed of the sacrifices made by your membership.

Thanks for your careful consideration of this suggestion, and for all you do for our kids.

Sincerely, 

The Support Our Schools Committee:

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