Some Providence teachers stay away from convocation

Some Providence school teachers did not attend a back-to-school ceremony Monday morning at the suggestion of their union.

The boycott of the staff-only superintendent's convocation came as the two sides work through contract talks. Some teachers did attend.

Union leadership said a statement needed to be made, but it didn't want to negatively impact students.

The teachers and the administration are still trying to work out a contract agreement two days before the start of the school year.

"I am disappointed that our union leadership yesterday asked teachers not to attend. I think we've taken great strides in moving this system forward. We will not go backwards. We'll come to an agreement soon and continue the good work," superintendent Susan Lusi said.

Maribeth Calabro, the president of the Providence Teachers Union, released a statement.

"All negotiations are difficult whether you have financial issues or not, but the bottom line remains that in the last contract (the teachers) agreed to give back $56 (million) in savings," Calabro said.

"We were told we wouldn't be asked to do that again but it seems like we keep getting asked to give more and when my members see consultants hired for millions of dollars and people getting raises and we're being asked to give and do more with less everybody has a breaking point," Calabro said.

Calabro said teachers will be at work for the start of school and will not take any other action, such as a strike, as the school year goes on.