Cheltenham Teachers Back New Contract Resoundingly

Posted: September 25, 1988

The Cheltenham school board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a new contract that the teachers' union has overwhelmingly approved.

On Thursday, the members of the Cheltenham Educators' Association (CEA) voted 225-38 to ratify the proposed contract.

No details of the contract will be available until after the school board has voted, said Ronald Carroll-Ranieri, president of the CEA. Carroll-Ranieri said 263 of the 303 members of the union voted on the contract.

"The teachers have given a clear message to the leadership of the CEA and the school board that they are satisfied with the contract," Carroll-Ranieri said. "But it can also be said that there were very legitimate concerns raised by the members."

Carroll-Ranieri said some of those concerns include pay and an extension of the working day. He would not elaborate on those concerns, but he did say he was pleased with the contract.

"Of the five school districts within Eastern Montgomery County that have settled contracts through the 1991-92 school year, our contract ranks second in (top-scale) salary. Abington is the first," Carroll-Ranieri said. Abington approved a four-year contract last December, which has top-ranked teachers earning $63,978 by 1992.

"Having been on the negotiating team, I would say we did the best we could," Carroll-Ranieri said.

Many teachers were relieved that the contract had been approved.

"This is terrific," Irving Westerman, a special education teacher at the high school, said as he left the meeting. "I think we got what we wanted and that is quality education at adequate pay."

The school board is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. in the administration building to vote on the contract.

At that meeting, the district will say when the students will make up the five missed days of class.

The teachers went on strike Sept. 4 after talks broke off between the CEA and the school district. The teachers and the board reached a tentative agreement Sept. 15 and teachers were back in the classroom the next day.

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