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Teachers To Boycott Kindergarten Expo; Parents Asked To Pitch In

Framingham Superintendent of Schools: "The kindergarten expo will certainly go forward with whomever is able to join us."

Teachers will not participate in tonight's kindergarten expo, according to several parents and at least one elementary school principal.

The reason, according to parents who contacted Framingham Patch, is the lack of a contract for the teachers. The Framingham Teachers Association has been without a contract since August.

Monday night, Framingham Superintendent of Schools Stacy Scott said "the kindergarten expo will certainly go forward with whomever is able to join us. It is an exciting opportunity to welcome the new parents and make them feel comfortable and getting ready for the beginning of next year, so hopefully teachers will take advantage of that opportunity."

"I realize that they (teachers) are still picketing and 'work to rule' but we are making good progress in the negotiations. It does take time," added Scott.

Framingham Teachers Association President Sam Miskin, when contacted Monday, did not wish to comment on the teachers' plan not to participate in Tuesday night's kindergarten expo.

But a handful of Dunning Elementary parents forwarded to Framingham Patch an email sent to them by their school principal about the issue.

"I am writing with a request for some assistance with the Kindergarten Expo... If there are any parents who would be willing to help man the Dunning table with me to speak to incoming Kindergarten parents, and answer any questions/share information, I would greatly appreciate it. The teachers will not be attending this year, so I am hopeful to have some parents who would be willing to support Dunning and share your great experiences with potential families."

In previous years, the elementary school principal, a few teachers and a couple of parents from the PTO have attended the expo and spoke to parents on the pluses of that elementary school.

At the expo, parents of incoming kindergarteners visit from table to table trying to decide which elementary school may be the best fit for their child. Framingham has a school choice program, so parents with incoming students make a prioritize list of their top choices for elementary schools. Students with siblings at a specific school and those needing a specific program are placed first.

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This is not the first time this year, the lack of a contract has disrupted parents or students.

In mid-December, elementary teachers cancelled math club at one school. In January, many high school teachers refused to stay after school to provide help for some students, prior to their mid-term examinations.

Unhappy that their contract expired in August and they have been without one, teachers last week began picketing at some of the schools. Teachers picketed the morning of the last mediation sesssion.

The Framingham Teachers Association says it has three major issues they want the School Committee and administration to address with a new contract.

They have expressed frustration with the negotiations and mediation sessions.

On Sunday, the leadership of the Hemenway Elementary PTO submitted a letter to editor to Framingham Patch asking for the School Committee/administration and the Teacher Association to schedule more frequent mediation session and to settle the contract faster.

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