PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Members of the union representing about 700 lay high school teachers in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia voted this morning to accept the tentative agreement reached last night (see related story) and return to work.

The vote was 589-41.

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Rita Schwartz, president of the Association of Catholic Teachers, says a key issue for the union was making sure that part-time teachers wouldn’t be used to replace full-timers.

“Absolutely not going to take the jobs of full-timers,” she told KYW Newsradio today.  “We can have part-time teachers — we have part-time teachers now.   We just had to make sure we had the procedures to protect the jobs of full-time teachers.  We have that.”

Archdiocese chief negotiator Theresa Ryan-Szott says teachers will be using an online course management system to evaluate their performance.

“We have a new evaluation system that recognizes distinguished and proficient teachers,” she said.  “We will grant tenure only to those teachers who are distinguished or proficient.”

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Ryan-Szott says teachers will get what amount to an 8.3 percent raise over the three year term of the contract.

“Our teachers went out because they felt their job security was jeopardized,” said Schwartz, the union president, who added that the strike “was never about money.”

The archdiocese says five days of instructional time missed due to the strike will be made up by scheduling classes on some Holy Days.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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