High school teachers at New Foundations Charter seek union

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New Foundations Charter High School

Teachers at New Foundations Charter High School in Northeast Philadelphia want to unionize.

More than 90 percent of the 53 teachers and professional support staff at the charter have signed cards saying they want to be represented by an affiliate of AFT Pennsylvania and have asked the National Labor Relations Board to schedule an election.

The documents were delivered to the NLRB’s regional office in Philadelphia on Friday, union officials said.

Teachers said they want to have a greater voice in the school’s operations, including seeking a  consistent curriculum, a recognized salary schedule, improved job security, and full participation in the state pension system for school employees.

“I’m organizing because my family deserves a raise, and my students deserve more resources to realize their dreams,” said Zach Riegler, a ninth grade social studies teacher.

Paul Stadelberger, CEO at New Foundations, could not be reached for comment,

If the teachers vote for unionization, New Foundations would be the fifth charter school in the district where teachers and professional staff are represented by the Alliance for Charter School Employees. The charters include Olney Charter High School, which approved its first contract in May.

New Foundations’ high school at 4850 Rhawn St. in Holmesburg opened in 2010 and enrolls 685 students.

The high school is an affiliate of the K-8 New Foundations Charter School at 8001 Torresdale Ave., which opened in 2000.

The K-8 charter was founded by Stadelberger and Sheryl Perzel, wife of former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel. Sheryl Perzel stepped down from the New Foundations board in 2005.

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