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What's Next For St.Monica School's Teachers

With the school now closed, the pastor wants parish members to know the bottom line as many displaced teachers still face an uncertain future.

15 teachers were out of job, according to Principal Lisa Hoban. According to Hoban's count as of the final day of schol Thursday morning, three had found new teaching positions, several were still looking and about six others are retiring or taking a little time to decide on their next move.

Saturday afternoon Pastor, Father William Trader sent parish families an emailed letter outlining where things stand financially for the teachers who are left without work in the wake of the closing.

According to the letter, the displaced teachers will not receive formal severance pay, but the parish is asking for contributions to a special fund to help say "thank you" to teachers. The fund will be collecting contributions until August, according to Fr. Trader's letter to the parish.

The pastor also addressed questions about health insurance for the displaced teachers and about helping them with job searches.

Trader sent the letter in anticipation of articles which he said may appear in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. The pastor says he wasn't sure what would be published in the newspaper after a columnist asked him, as well as parents questions about what's ahead for the school's displaced teachers. He wanted to get the facts out ahead of any article that might appear.

What follows is an excerpt from Trader's pastoral letter that explains the timing and where things stand for the dsiplaced teachers.

I do not know the final direction or tone of the two articles that may appear in Sunday's papers, but wanted you to hear about the possibility of the articles from me first. So that all parishioners are informed of our parish's efforts to support the teachers, below are bullet points of assistance currently underway:

 

 - Saint Monica School Teacher Appreciation Fund:

 

 Currently at $34,575, this fund will be open for contributions through August. The money will be distributed to teachers after they receive their final paycheck based upon last year's contract. If you have not made a contribution to the Teacher Appreciation Fund, I encourage you to support our teachers for their years of dedicated service to the students of Saint Monica School.

 

 - Extended Health Care:

 

Teachers of St. Monica School are employees of Saint Monica Parish, not the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Our parish does not have enough employees to qualify for COBRA participation, but the teachers are eligible to pay into the Saint Monica Parish policy through February. Teachers were informed that should their participation be a financial hardship as it will be at an increased cost, the parish would provide assistance. In addition, representatives from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Human Resource Department came to meet with some of the teachers to suggest additional health care coverage alternatives.

 

 - Future Employment:

 

The Archdiocese is providing teachers with an ongoing list of open teaching positions at parish and regional schools. In addition, I have met with teachers on an individual basis and told them of my desire to give recommendations and references to future employers on their behalf.

The emiled letter ends with the pastor calling on parish members to ask if there is something they have questions about.

"Our community is at a vulnerable place at this time and I know the possibility of two articles that focus on Saint Monica Church and School in Sunday's newspaper may cause further distress," Trader writes.  "Please know I am here for the people of our community and available to answer any questions you may have."

Coming Monday: Read more about St Monica School's final day in Monday's TE Patch morning newsletter.

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