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Philadelphia Catholic High Schools Close Doors Amid Teacher Strike

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa (CBS)- Back-and-forth negotiations and no agreement has shut the doors of Philadelphia-area Catholic high schools indefinitely on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, parents were notified that classes were cancelled until an agreement was reached. Parents are frustrated, wanting the two parties to settle the strike so their children can get back to school.

During the day Tuesday, the teachers union requested a mediator be in the room when negotiations were taking place, but the archdiocese did not agree. The teachers union and the archdiocese exchanged many proposals until late Tuesday night, but both parties could not reach an agreement.

All schools were closed Wednesday as a result, with the exception of Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Bucks County, which remained open Wednesday for freshman and sophomore testing. Those tests were scheduled to be completed last week, but due to inclement weather the school closed that day.

The archdiocese, in an earlier statement, claims the union is still seeking a 14.5% raise over three years and the teachers haven’t addressed what the archdiocese calls “educational reform issue.” The union claims it’s a job security issue, because the archdiocese wants to hire part-time teachers for “elevated classes,” saying they will be left without jobs. (see related story…)

Approximately 700 lay teachers have been on strike since last Tuesday affecting 16,000 students in the five-county Philadelphia area. Schools had been open during the walkout, with classes conducted by religious staffers. For now, those doors are closed until further notice. (see related story…)

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