Special Town Meeting Info

Please click here for more information about the Special Town Meeting on June 20th 

 7:00pm in the Holliston High School Auditorium

**Childcare for the meeting is being arranged - stay tuned



Holliston Special Town Meeting for School Funding Summary - June 20, 2024


The Holliston School Committee would like to thank the Select Board for calling a Special Town  Meeting on June 20, 2024 at 7:00pm at the Holliston High School Auditorium. There will be preferred senior parking in front of the High School as well as babysitting services. We appreciate all the efforts of the Select Board, Town Administrator, Town Clerk, Town Assessor, Treasurer and Town Moderator to help make this Special Town Meeting possible. 


This override request is a two step process in order to be finalized:

  1. First is the Town Meeting vote referenced above.  PLEASE come show up and support the Schools! The deadline for registering to vote to participate in this Town Meeting is June 10th!
  2. The second is a ballot question that will be a vote, like other elections, in the High School gym at a date that is yet to be determined (it is set by the Select Board). The exact date will be communicated out as soon as possible by the Select Board as well as updated on the HSC override page.   


Both the article at town meeting and the ballot question for the override MUST pass for the contract to go into effect. For more details, please review information linked here and/or join us at the following office hours:


School Committee Office Hours

Saturday June 8th from 9am – 10am at Coffee Haven

Wednesday June 12th from 6:30pm - 7:30pm at the Holliston Public Library, Gilman Room


Brief Highlights:

  • On May 20, 2024 the Holliston School Committee and the Holliston Federation of Teachers negotiating teams agreed to a new three-year contract for 2024-2027, subject to the passage of an override.  The agreement was ratified (voted on by both parties) on May 23, 2024. This agreement is good for our schools, students, staff and community, but requires passage of an override to fund the contract.
  • The agreement was reached after the May 13, 2024 Town Meeting, preventing its financial aspects to be incorporated into the budget or for an override request to be made at that time.  At the time of Town Meeting, even the outline of an agreement was not known.
  • The budget approved at the May 13, 2024 Town Meeting included $400,000 in cuts, resulting in 8 position cuts which ultimately resulted in one lost job as a direct result. An additional $750,000 was approved for one-time extraordinary expenses, mostly related to state mandated out-of-district special education costs.  This was merely a means to justify using one time funds rather than a statement about any particular budget driver.
  • The School Committee is asking the Holliston community for an override to fund this new contract in order to compensate our teachers fairly, increase time on learning for our students, and to avoid additional layoffs. 
  • The terms of the agreement linked here include fair compensation for our teachers and extend student instructional time by 15 minutes each day for grades 3-12 and 10 minutes each day for grades K-2 starting in the 2025-2026 school year. Additionally, the agreement provides a process for potential bell schedule changes at the middle and high school. Lastly, in order to accommodate the longer school day, the district will add additional buses to move from 3 bus runs to 2 bus runs which will allow us to have a later start time at Miller.
  • Given the increased instructional time for students, fair teacher compensation comparable to neighboring districts, and other contract benefits, the cost of this override is fiscally prudent and a smart investment. These changes will positively impact student learning which makes for a desirable town and strong property values.
  • The cost of the override is $1.2 million (inclusive of additional funding by the Select Board for non-union personnel raises) or $201 per average household. The Assessor has provided additional information on the Town’s website about how you can calculate your own personal impact from this override.
  • This contract and override is good for students, good for teachers, good for HPS and ultimately good for Holliston.

For a more comprehensive discussion of the contract and override, please click here.


The Holliston School Committee

Daniel Alfred, Chair

Dawn Neborsky, Vice Chair

Hilary Bresnahan

Sarah Fitzgerald

Cynthia Listewnik

Francis Ogura

Joseph Paru


It is the policy of the Holliston Public Schools not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, color, homelessness, sexual orientation, age or disability in its educational programs, services, activities, or employment practices.

Holliston Public Schools

370 Hollis Street

Holliston, MA 01746


Holliston School Committee Override FAQ

Submitted by the Communications Subcommittee


Why is an operational override being sought? 

The Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which begins July 1, 2024, has been challenging for several reasons: inflationary increases in operating costs, the important need to pay our paraprofessionals more to remain competitive with surrounding districts, weak Town new growth, and special education tuition and transportation costs, among other budget drivers. Our Teacher’s Contract ends on August 31, 2024, and we are committed to providing fair and competitive compensation to attract and retain outstanding teachers, who, in turn, support our students in achieving high outcomes.


How much will the override cost?

Preliminarily, the Holliston School Committee is currently seeking an operational override that will cost $1,126,021 and result in an average increase in tax bills of less than ~$195 per year or ~$0.53 per day. The “average” increase is calculated on the average home assessment of $649,000. To calculate your own tax impact, you can multiply your property’s assessed value by 0.00030 ($0.30 cents per $1,000).


How will the process for the override work?

Two events must take place. First, the town will hold a Special Town Meeting to allow residents to vote on the appropriation of the proposed override funds to the Schools. Second, the town will hold an Election where residents will vote yes or no to an override question on a ballot. 


Is Holliston the only community currently facing tough budget issues?

No. Many Massachusetts communities are seeing significant increases in their “level service” budget and some of these are pursuing overrides to manage those budgets. Arlington passed a $7M operational override in November 2023, Acton passed a $6.6M operational override in April 2024, and Franklin is seeking a $6.8M for June 2024. Millis proposed an override this Spring, but it lost by 8 votes and will result in cuts to the Millis school district.


What is a Level Service Budget?

A Level Service budget is reached when a district provides the same level of services to students that were provided in the previous school year. This means no reduction in staff or programs.


What options are there for tax relief for people that this will hit the hardest - low income or fixed-income residents?

There are a number of programs available through the Board of Assessors that provide relief to those on limited means. Most recently, a new Means-Tested Senior Exemption (passed by Town Meeting May 2022 and signed into law by the Governor in May 2024) will be available beginning in FY25. For more information, visit the links to the town website below or contact Kevin Rudden at town hall. Ruddenke@holliston.k12.ma.us

Hardship Exemption Policy

Exemption for Seniors | Town of Holliston MA

Senior/Veteran Tax Work-off | Town of Holliston MA


Does this override cover buildings or just staffing?

This override covers teacher salaries as agreed upon in the 2024-2027 contract. It also covers the future cost of additional buses that will be required to reduce the bus runs from 3 to 2 that is required by the increased student day for added instructional time. This will also require an adjustment to start times with all schools starting later than Miller and earlier than Placentino do now.


Who is covered by the Teacher’s Contract?

Our “Teacher’s” contract includes our classroom teachers, special educators, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, school psychologists, Unified Arts teachers, librarians, school counselors, curriculum specialists, intervention specialists, technology integration specialists, school adjustment counselors, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physical therapists. In total there are over 250 professionals covered by this contract.


Why weren't  the teachers’ contract salaries included in the budget when we voted at Town Meeting on May 13, 2024? 

The Holliston School Committee and the Holliston Federation of Teachers (the union) worked diligently to arrive at an agreement that both parties agree is good for our schools, our students, our staff and our community. 14 negotiation sessions were held between November 2023 and May 21, 2024, when a final agreement was reached. The parties worked in concert with each other to ratify the agreement by their respective constituents and to work expeditiously with partners in town to begin the override process.  Unfortunately, to no fault of either party, the agreement was not reached prior to the Town Meeting on May 13, 2024. Therefore, it was not possible to either incorporate an unknown contract into the budget nor was it possible to ask the town to consider an override with no known financial amount.


What was the negotiation timeline? 

Please see HSC - FY25 STM Request 5.28.24 presentation (slide 13)


The budget passed at Town Meeting included a roughly $400K cut. Will this $400K will be restored if the override is passed?

No, the $400,000 cut will not be restored because that was largely driven by enrollment related position reductions.


Will the ~$1.1M be enough to sustain the compounded increases to teachers' salaries for the next 3 years?

Yes, the override is taking into account the entire three years of the teachers contract.


What happens if the override doesn’t pass?

The 2024-2027 Teachers Contract is contingent on the override. If the override does not pass, the 2024-2027 contract is no longer valid and the HSC and HFT will resume negotiations. In this scenario, it is highly unlikely that the final agreement will be as beneficial to the students or the teachers and will likely result in significant cost reductions. Also, if the community does not pass the override, the existing contract remains in place and any subsequent contract would be retroactive to September 1, 2024.


How does Holliston compare to neighboring school districts? 

Please see HSC - FY25 STM Request 5.28.24 presentation (slide 21-22)


Highlights of the 2024-2027 Teacher Agreement:

  • Elimination of the current entry level step (step 2), starting in year one of the contract, to allow us to be highly competitive with other Metrowest school districts in attracting new talent.

  • Starting with the 2025-26 school year (year two of the contract), instructional time will increase by 15 minutes at Miller, Adams and the High School and by 10 minutes at Placentino. This will increase annual time on learning by 45 hours and 30 hours, respectively, or an additional 7.5 days and 5 days worth of learning in a school year. Over the course of a student’s K-12 education this will equate to an additional 540 hours of time on learning or an additional half a year of instructional time! We believe that this will have a significant positive long-term impact on student outcomes. Exact details of what this means to start times and other operational issues will be announced before January 1, 2025, to give families ample planning time.

  • Teacher cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases will be 4% in year one, 3% in year two, and 3% in year three. Additionally, in year two of the contract (coinciding with the increased time on learning), a new top pay step will be created for our most experienced educators that is $1,500 above the current top pay step.

  • The agreement also provides for 1) additional scheduling flexibility while maintaining overall teacher preparation time, 2) increased student monitoring at the middle and high school, and 3) a Memorandum of Agreement ensuring collaboration between the administrators and teachers on potential future schedule changes at the middle and high school.


How will the additional time on learning be implemented? 

The start and end times (the bell schedule) will be adjusted so that students are in the classroom receiving instruction for an additional 15 (10 at Placentino) minutes. The additional instructional time for students will result in 45 (30) hours of additional annual instructional time or or 540 hours more over the course of a student’s K-12 education. This equates to more than half a year of increased instructional time.

Kimberly Sexton




The Negotiating Subcommittee of the Holliston School Committee (hereinafter "the Committee"), acting subject to the ratification of this Memorandum of Agreement (hereinafter "the Agreement") by the School Committee to whom the Subcommittee agrees to recommend acceptance, and the Negotiating Team of the Holliston Federation of Teachers, AFT­ Massachusetts, Local 3275 (hereinafter "the Federation"), acting subject to the ratification of this Agreement by the membership of the Federation to whom the Negotiating Team agrees to recommend acceptance, hereby mutually agree to the following terms and conditions of settlement of the contract negotiations for the successor Collective Bargaining Agreement that will be in effect for the three-year period from September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2027.


1.               All terms and provisions of the predecessor Collective Bargaining Agreement that were effective from September I, 202I through August 31, 2024 shall, except as modified by the terms of this Memorandum, be extended for a three-year period from September I, 2024 through August 3 I, 2027.


2.               All references to dates in the successor Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be changed to reflect the terms of the successor Agreement unless otherwise provided for in this document.


3.               Any written interim agreements that have been entered into by the parties since the ratification of the predecessor Collective Bargaining Agreement and that require the modification of existing contract language shall be incorporated into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.


4.    Article VII, D, I. Modify as follows:

Grades PreK - 2      50 minutes per day              

Grade 3-4               65 minutes per day

Grade 5                  65 minutes per day

Grade 6-8               410 minutes per week based on a five-day week with no less than 40 consecutive minutes daily based on                                                a full school day

Grade 9-12            85 minutes on average a day/per week or rotation schedule with no less than 40 minutes daily based on a full                                        school day. The 85 minutes on average a day for Grades 9-12 shall include any DSB preparation time.

Elementary Unified Arts         50 minutes per day plus 50 minutes per week.


5.               Article XVIIJ, C. Add the following language at the end of this section as follows: 

"The School Committee and Federation agree that students benefit from being welcomed 

to class. When the teacher determines it is plausible, the teacher will make themselves

available to greet students at the door at the start of the class period.


The School Committee and Federation agree that students may require adult intervention during passing time. Teachers will intervene to address inappropriate student behavior during passing time when they deem it  necessary."


6.                Article XI, 3. Amend the third sentence in this section to read as follows and add the following new language:

Effective September 1, 2025 (or the first day of the 2025-2026 school year), the school day will increase by fifteen (15) minutes of instruction time at all schools, except Placentino, where the school day will increase by ten (10) minutes of instruction time.

Placentino teachers shall be expected to remain in school for five (5) minutes after the student day. Teachers shall be expected to be in their classroom a minimum of five (5) minutes before the student day. and remain at school a minimum of fifteen (15) minutes beyond student dismissal. The start and end times of each school shall be announced no later than January I. 2025.


7.                Article VII, D, 3. Retain the current language. Modify compensation to read as follows:

Pool Teachers:      $1.00/minute for each minute of a period

Non-pool:              $0.50/minute for each minute of a period


8.                Article IX, D,(3)(c). Modify the contract language to read as follows:

I) Instructor who has taught 6 or more hours may attend a one-day conference approved by the District-wide administrator with focus on Curriculum, paid by Holliston Public Schools as school business day or receive one (1) hour of pay at the rate of $25.00/hour for each hour of preparation not to exceed the length of the presentation (i.e., I: 1 ratio of preparation to presentation).

2)  Presenter (1-5 hours) will receive one (1) hour of pay at the rate of$25.00/hour for each hour of preparation not to exceed the length of presentation (i.e., 1:1 ratio of preparation to presentation).

3)  Facilitator will receive $15.00 per hour for each hour of preparation not to exceed the length of the presentation (i.e., I:1 ratio of preparation to facilitation).


9.               Appendix B. Increase all stipends as follows:

Year 1 - (September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2025). Two percent (2%).

Year 2 - (September 1, 2025 through August 31, 2026). Three percent (3%).

Year 3 - (September 1, 2026 through Auguste 31, 2027). Three percent (3%).


10.            Appendix A. Make the following adjustments to the salary schedule.

•        Year One - (September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2025). Eliminate Step 2 across all lanes.

•        Year One - (September 1, 2024 through August 31, 2025). Increase all steps and lanes by four percent (4%).

•        Year Two - (September 1, 2025 through August 31, 2026). Increase all steps and lanes by three percent (3%). After the application of the percentage increase to all steps and lanes, create a new top step, which shall be One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) higher than the current top step.

•        Year Three - (September 1, 2026 through August 31, 2027). Increase all steps and lanes by three percent (3%).


11.            The parties agree this entire agreement, including but not limited to any salary and stipend increases, is contingent upon successful passage of an operational override. The parties will reconvene bargaining in the event the override does not pass. In the event that the operational override passes, salary and stipend increases in Year One will be retroactive to Day 1 of the contract year.


12.            The parties agree that Federation input on schedule changes is important in order to allow the Federation and its members to provide substantive input. To that end, the Federation and the Committee agree to create a schedule sub-committee, comprised of an equal number of members, to review, research and recommend potential new middle or high school schedules. The sub-committee will have no more than four (4) members on each side. The sub-committee shall be formed by no later than September 1, 2024. The sub­ committee shall meet at regularly scheduled time. All meetings shall occur during the school day except for up to 2 meetings of 2 hours that may be held after school. The sub­ committee will complete its work by no later than January 1, 2025, and shall make a recommendation in writing to the Federation and the Committee on the terms of any new schedule. Any recommendation by the sub-committee is subject to review and approval by the Committee and Federation membership at the impacted school. In the event that one of the parties fails to ratify the written agreement, the patties will reconvene in an effort to work out any remaining issues, to bring back for another vote. Ratification votes will be held by April 1st, 2025. The Committee agrees to follow a similar process for any future major schedule changes at the middle and high school.


13.  The Parties agree to a joint statement upon ratification.



For the Holliston Federation of Teachers, AFT-Massachusetts, Local 3275                                For the Holliston School Committee








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