Olney Charter High School faculty, staff OK contract

May 6, 2017

The Alliance of Charter School Employees, Local 6056, an extension of the American Federation of Teachers, ratified its first union contract last week.

The group represents teachers and some staff at Olney Charter High School, managed by ASPIRA Inc.

The vote came on Monday night with a new two-year contract providing faculty and staff with a 4 percent raise.

Nearly 120 teachers, nurses, counselors and instructional assistants are members of the union at the high school at .

“This contract sets a new standard for what can be achieved on behalf of charter school teachers,” said AFT Pennsylvania president Ted Kirsch in a statement. “We are proud to have Olney’s staff back in the AFT family.”

Represented by the union since April 30, 2015, Elizabeth Cesarini, called the contract progressive.

“It provides our members with paid maternity and paternity leave, time for planning lessons and monthly labor-management meetings,” Cesarini said in a statement. “It also sets limits on class sizes, which is an issue that matters to parents, teachers and students.”

Finally, Sarah Apt, a member of the negotiating team who teaches English language learners, said the new contract will allow educators to work closely with administration to address labor issues and trust educators’ professional judgement about teaching methods and ensure that disciplinary matters are handled with dignity and respect.

Olney Charter High School opened as a charter in 2011 as part of the School District of Philadelphia’s academic turnaround plan. The school is heavily minority populated, made up of approximately 61 percent Hispanic and 31 percent African-American students.

ASPIRA of PA is a non-profit that focuses on serving vulnerable youth and Latino’s in North Philadelphia specifically in Hunting Park, Kensington and Olney neighborhoods.

Teachers in the SDP have been without a contract for four years.

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