More Details in Harlem Teachers Contract

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MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- Harlem teachers are officially working under contract and we’re starting to learn some of the specifics.

Under the three-year deal, only first-year teachers get a raise. The teachers federation calls that a major concession. A concession made to afford to keep most district programming.

All teachers will get an extra personal day and more planning time.

MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- Teachers in the Harlem School District are expected to return to classes this week with a new three year contract.

Teachers were able to secure small pay increases over the next three years, though union members say the raises won't be enough to match cost of living increases. As a part of the new teacher contract insurance premiums will stay the same, and the pay increases will be retroactive to the beginning of the school year. There are more than five hundred teachers in District 122. Most of them came out for the vote at Harlem High School Sunday afternoon. This is the third time the teachers have voted on a tentative agreement. The deal didn't get enough support the first time. The second vote had to be thrown out, and Sunday’s vote was close according to union leaders.

“We wanted to make sure that the integrity of the district was preserved in regards to their programming. We didn’t want to see program changes, we didn’t want to see school closures,” says Elana Schelling-Tufte, president of the Harlem Federation of Teachers. “This will give us the time now that we have to focus on what needs to be focused on within our classrooms. We’re assured now there will be no program cuts and we can go and teach which is what we are here to do."

The superintendent of the Harlem School District tells 23 News, she is pleased that both sides were able to agree on a contract in a time when finances are tight. The school board will vote on the tentative agreement on Monday.

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