Neshaminy teachers voted overwhelmingly Monday night to ratify the tentative agreement on a new contract.
Last week, leaders of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers announced that they reached a tentative agreement with the school board over a new contract for certified staff members in the Neshaminy Public School system.
The dispute between the two groups began back in 2008 when the last teacher contract expired. The teachers went on several strikes since then and negotiations between the two sides often broke down with the teachers demanding health care contributions and raises.
“It has been a long and challenging process that brought us to this point,” said NFT President Louise Boyd. “The tentative agreement addresses some professional issues that are important to teachers and their students.”
Boyd gave credit to NFT Vice President Anne Schmidt and School Board President Ritchie Webb for “working vigorously over the Memorial Day weekend to resolve some final questions.”
“The tentative agreement we have worked out secures what both sides needed to move ahead to a new contract,” said Webb.
“This has been a tough process,” said Schmidt. “But we believe the agreement will be a new beginning in our relationship. It’s time for our community to stop looking backward and focus on the future of our schools and our students.”
Both sides also credited Bill Gross, the state mediator who organized formal bargaining sessions.
A ratification vote on the agreement took place during a meeting Monday night. Over 80 percent of the union's members attended the meeting at Carl Sandburg Middle School. The final tally was 487 in favor of ratification and 21 against.
Now that the agreement has been ratified, there is one final step. The school board will vote on the contract during a meeting next week.
While leaders on both sides are not commenting on the specific provisions of the agreement, NFT leaders say the new agreement will help teachers make up for the five years they've gone without a contract and raises.