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Tensions rise between Gloucester Educators and Superintendent

Artist+Cyan+Clements+illustrates+the+balance+between+school+budgets+and+education.+
Cyan Clements
Artist Cyan Clements illustrates the balance between school budgets and education.

On February 14, the Gloucester Teachers Association and the Gloucester Association of Educational Paraprofessionals released a statement in response to an email sent by Superintendent Ben Lummis regarding the district’s future. 

The email warned of a budget shortfall, and threatened cuts, which educators called “unacceptable.” 

In a presentation on Wednesday night, Lummis cited that districts across the North Shore are facing difficult budgets for the next year, and Gloucester is no exception. Lummis also pointed out that federal and state relief funding will be ending, making it harder to “maintain the level of staffing we have reached over the last few years.” 

The presentation then highlighted how reductions may need to be made, but the focus will be placed on supporting the district and school priorities. 

The pre-presentation email was not taken well by either union, as the GAEP had another mediation pertaining to their ongoing contract battle, which is almost reaching a year of negotiations. Similarly, the GTA will begin their bargaining process with the School Committee on March 11.  

“The Superintendent’s email has raised unnecessary alarm and anxiety which serve only as a means to instill fear and division among and between educators and the community we are so proud to serve,” the statement said. 

The unions’ statement also cited Governor Maura Healy’s proposal to increase Chapter 70 funding, which would give Gloucester a larger budget to use towards the district. 

“It is unacceptable that our schools, which serve as the backbone of our community and the future of our children, are being threatened with cuts to necessary services and student-facing positions when there are sufficient funds available now,” the unions said. 

“Every child deserves access to a quality education, and any reduction in resources will directly impact the learning experience and opportunities available to them,” the statement said. 

The statement also called out Lummis for working against educators and families, and argued that Lummis should partner with both parties and advocate for “the full and necessary funding our students deserve.” 

“Together, our unions pledge to use every tool at our disposal to fight for and win the schools our students and families deserve,” the statement read. 

GTA President Rachel Rex reached out to comment further on the situation.

“The school committee and superintendent Lummis have to understand that in order to attract and maintain highly qualified educators, they have to pay a competitive wage and value those educators,” said Rex. 

The Gillnetter reached out to Superintendent Lummis for comment, but did not receive a response by press time.  

  

 

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About the Contributors
SOFIA ORLANDO, Editor in Chief
Sofia Orlando is a senior at GHS and is Editor in Chief for The Gillnetter. She is a member of the National Honors Society (NHS) and has won awards for her accomplishments regarding world history and journalism. In her free time, Sofia can be found baking, hanging out with friends and family, walking around town, or watching any of her favorite movies. She also has a fraternal twin sister! You can contact her with any questions or story ideas at: [email protected]
Cyan Clements, Staff Writer
Cyan Clements is a senior at GHS and is a second year writer for The Gillnetter. She is a honors student and takes pride in being the resident artist for the newspaper. Outside of school, Cyan enjoys drawing, trying new hobbies, and spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys collecting various different things, such as albums and dolls. You can contact her at [email protected]

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    Beth ParkhurstFeb 16, 2024 at 2:52 pm

    A wonderful piece Sophia and I cannot wait to see more! 🙂 Mrs Parkhurst

    Reply