The Scranton Federation of Teachers, which successfully fought off proposals to silence educators, overwhelmingly ratified a two-year contract on Oct. 13 for its 940 teachers and 110 paraprofessionals. Students will return to school on Oct. 14.
The strike began on Sept. 25.
"The public supported us every step of the way because they knew we were fighting for what kids need," says Rosemary Boland, president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers. "Teaching is a shared responsibility, and this contract shows give and take by educators and the administration. Administrators finally realized that educators need to be treated as the professionals they are."
AFT President Randi Weingarten visited Scranton educators during the strike, delivered food to a local food bank for kids who weren't getting their daily school meals, and started a fundraising drive for food purchases that raised more than $8,000.
"Draconian proposals to silence teachers and prevent them from giving input on educational decisions were wrong and harm, not help, schooling," Weingarten says. "I'm glad Scranton school administrators saw the light. Educators are in the classroom every day, and their perspective and ideas are crucial to providing kids with a great education."
Teachers will receive modest raises through regular step increases in both years of the contract, plus a 1 percent across-the-board hike in the second year. Step increases, which will be retroactive to Sept. 1, will be delayed until January, when the state is expected to pass a budget. Health insurance deductibles and prescription copays for teachers will increase.
Paraprofessionals also will receive salary step increases in the contract's first year, plus a $200 bonus to offset a higher health insurance deductible. For the second year, like the teachers, paraprofessionals will get a step increase plus 1 percent.
[AFT press release]