PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Classes are resuming today at 17 area Catholic high schools, now that striking teachers have ratified a new contract (see related story).

In a letter to parents, the Archdiocese says it worked hard to avoid the strike, and it regrets the inconvenience and the delay in the school year.

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Parents say they’re relieved the strike is settled:

“I’m very happy. I’m pleased my daughter’s going to get the education that we pay for. Really, the children were going to lose out. And I’m very happy for the teachers. They deserve what they should get, because they don’t get a lot and they really do a service to our children.”

“I’m very happy, my daughter’s extremely happy to start her junior year.”

“I’m glad, my daughter’s excited she’s back to school, about time they got it together.  She’s a freshman too, so about time, that’s all I can say.”

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As with any negotiation, each side gets something. Teachers’ union president Rita Schwartz says her members got assurances that their jobs would be safe if schools are closed, and the knowledge that part-timers won’t be used to replace full-timers.

“They continue to have the job security that they had,” Schwartz says. “They struck for that. They’re going back because we still have it.”

The Archdiocese won a new teacher evaluation system and language that has teachers using online course management. Archdiocese superintendent Mary Rochford says school time lost during the nearly two-week strike will be made up.

“We are out of school on Holy Days, so we have several Holy Days that students now will be in school,” Rochford says. “And then there are other holidays that the school had planned that we need to take back.”

Reported by Mike DeNardo and Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060

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