The negotiating teams from the Office of Catholic Education and the Association of Catholic Teachers met the evening of Thursday, Sept. 8, all day Sept. 9 and continued to meet Sept. 11. That day, proposals were exchanged but the Association of Catholic Teachers did not want to conduct face-to-face discussions with the full archdiocesan negotiating team.
According to a statement released by the archdiocesan Office of Communications Sept. 11, the Archdiocese is disappointed the Association is still asking for a 14.5 percent salary increase over three years, the same amount they requested Sept. 4 before the strike.
While the Office of Catholic Education presented proposals that addressed the teachers’ concerns about job security while maintaining academic priorities, the statement reported, “The association has still not seriously discussed any substantial items regarding educational reform and advancement. The contract in question is one for both the present and the future.”
“The Office of Catholic Education is committed to achieving an agreement that will provide the flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing 21st century learning environment and provide its school families with the educational excellence they rightly respect and deserve,” the statement said. “We are affirmed in this resolve by the overwhelmingly supportive correspondence received from parents and school administrators over the past several days.”
The strike did not affect academic schedules at any of the 17 archdiocesan high schools last week, and overall student attendance was recorded at 94 percent, according to the statement. Students completed previously planned orientation programs and the schedule was the same as if teachers had been in the building. Should the teacher strike continue into the next week, the statement said, all schools were expected to open as scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. Standardized testing that had been scheduled for later in the month will be administered to freshmen and sophomores at this time.”
Parents were asked to check individual school web sites for updated scheduling information.
Editor’s Note: The contract currently under negotiation will affect approximately 800 lay teachers. In the five-county Philadelphia region 16,502 students attend 17 archdiocesan high schools (as of the 2010-2011 school year). For a complete list of schools in the Archdiocese, visit www.catholicschools-phl.org.