ELKINS PARK -- The Cheltenham School District (CSD) Board of School Directors and Cheltenham Educators’ Association (CEA), the school district’s teachers union, have come to agreement on a three-year contract. After the CEA’s weekend contract ratification, the board approved the contract at its May legislative meeting. The eight board members present unanimously approved.
“I am pleased we have reached a responsible, reasonable and fair contract,” said CSD Board President Julie Haywood. “This contract strikes an important balance between our fiscal realities and the burden of increasing taxes on our residents during a time of extreme uncertainty. We have honored the sacred role of teachers, upheld our fiduciary responsibility to our residents, and kept our students’ intellectual and emotional growth, well-being and needs front and center. We are all in this together, as we move forward to face the challenges ahead.”
The agreement, retroactive to July 1, 2019, and running through June 30, 2022, includes annual salary increases of 2%, 2.94%, and 2.58% for teachers, in addition to a restructuring of the salary matrix, and changes to the healthcare benefits package, which resulted in significant savings for the district.
The contract grants the district the ability to implement a “flexible schedule” in the middle and high schools (grades 7-12) in partnership collaboration with CEA. Flexibility in academic time and schedules will grant the district more time to work on increasing student achievement and outcomes. Flexible scheduling comes in various forms, all of which deliver benefits to students and teachers. Some of the benefits of a flexible scheduling model include consistent daily interventions, intervention and enrichment minutes, increased opportunities for electives, maximized instructional opportunities and supports for students. Teachers will have increased planning time and extended periods in the classroom which will allow for deeper exploration of subject matter.
In a move reflecting the evolving and shifting educational landscape the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped, the contract also includes seven “reopener” components empowering the district to renegotiate the contract on an annual basis if its financial situation becomes precarious. The contract includes guidelines defining such financial conditions.
Negotiations with the union began in January 2019. Since the contract expired on June 30, 2019, CEA members had been working under a labor condition called “status quo,” in which the terms of the expired contract were still in effect.