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Shaler Area Teachers to End Strike

The Shaler Area School District has reached a tentative agreement with its striking teachers.

According to the district's web site, the teachers' union ratified the deal Wednesday morning and the school board was expected to approve it at a meeting that night.

“We’ve actually been bargaining for two and a half years, so it’s been a long, drawn-out process,” said Melissa Ravas, president of the Shaler Area Education Association. “We were down to issues that mostly centered around working conditions, contributions toward health care and salary. Over the course of the last couple of days we’ve been able to work most of those out, except for the one we’ll go to binding arbitration with.”

The district agreed to binding arbitration on salary schedules, which was the only item on which the sides could not agree.

The district's 390 teachers will return to work Thursday and students will return to class Friday. The teachers have been on strike since Sept. 3, the day classes were to have begun for the 2013-14 school years.

“We’re excited to get back into the classroom and to welcome our kids and their families back,” Ravas said. “The community support has been fantastic through this whole process, so we’re excited to getting back to work with them. We think it’s unfortunate that it had to come to a situation where we had no choices left but to go on strike to finally get the school board to make a deal with us.”

The district just northeast of Pittsburgh has about 4,700 students.