Catholic High School Students Back in Class

The extended summer vacation for nearly 17,000 students is officially over.

Catholic High School teachers and students in the Philadelphia area are back in class Tuesday morning after a nine day strike.

During a meeting in Penn’s Landing on Monday, teachers approved a new three year contract. Teachers will receive across the board increases in each of the three years: $1,300, $1,400 and $1,600. It’s an 8.3 percent increase over the course of the contract.

“It was never about the money,” said Rita Schwartz. “It was about the respect and it was about the security.”

The contract provides job security for teachers and insures that part time teachers can’t replace full-time instructors.

“Teachers like me with 12 years in the system can’t be replaced by first time and second year teachers if my school closes or if I’m constricted,” said Theresa Hooten of Little Flower High School. “That’s a biggie.”

The Archdiocese says their goal from the beginning of the negotiations was to bring their 17 high schools up to date and keep the students competitive.

“We have all of our teachers required to use the national education technology standards,” said Archdiocesan negotiator Terry Ryan-Szoot. “We’re adopting the common core standards and we have a new evaluation system that recognizes distinguished and proficient teachers. We will grant tenure only to those teachers.”

The returning students can expect a changed scheduled for the new school year. They’ll have to make up some of the days they lost due to the strike.

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