Back to School for Harlem

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Students in the Harlem school district will finally head back to class Friday. The teacher strike that lasted nine days is now over.

Wednesday the board and the teachers agreed to enter into binding arbitration to settle part of their contract dispute. Thursday they met to iron out those details as well as other looming issues.

After meeting with a federal mediator for about four hours Thursday afternoon, the sides decided on how the arbitration process would be handled, as well as how the arbitrator will be chosen. That person will be making a decision on teachers’ pay for the second and third years of their contract as well as the teachers’ salary schedule.

The board and the teachers were also able to reach tentative agreements Thursday on issues such as health insurance and missed class days. The days will be made up. The schedule will be released at a later date.

School Superintendent Dr. Pat DeLuca says the timeline of the arbitration is unclear at this point.

“I don’t know. We will write a joint letter to the American Arbitration Association and then we’ll be on their timeline,” says DeLuca.

The school schedule for Friday will be the same as it would have been August 23, the originally scheduled first day of school.