Classroom (illustration)
Classroom (illustration)iStock

Following the summer vacation and after all the strike threats have been lifted, 2,496,000 students will begin the school year in approximately 5,440 educational institutions across the country on Thursday morning.

177,000 of the students will begin first grade and 136,000 will begin twelfth grade. About 290,000 are special education students, of which about 114,000 are in special education classes and about 175,000 are integrated in regular classes. 21,000 students have been diagnosed as gifted, and 129,000 were awarded the title of outstanding students.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will arrive in the morning at Nitzanei Hamada Elementary School in Rehovot, together with the Minister of Education Yifat Shasha-Biton and the Secretary General of the Teachers' Union, Yaffa Ben David, where they will open the new school year with the students.

On Wednesday morning, negotiators from the Finance Ministry and the Teachers’ Union achieved a breakthrough in talks, laying the foundation for an agreement which will allow the school year to begin as scheduled.

As part of the deal, the Treasury agreed to increase the starting wage for teachers to 9,000 shekels per month, with bonuses starting at 1,100 shekels.

Grants for teachers completing additional training courses three years after beginning work as teachers will be raised to 10,000 shekels.

The entry-level wage for school administrators will be raised to 19,000.

Tenure will now be granted only after three years, and the process for dismissing problematic teachers has been shortened.

In addition, the deal modifies the school vacation schedule, with teachers now require to work on Lag Ba’omer, Ta’anit Esther (the fast before Purim), and the days immediately following festivals (Isru Chag).

In exchange, schools will close during the period in between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, with teachers also granted two extra vacation days, to be used whenever they choose.

As part of the Finance Ministry’s plan to encourage outstanding teachers, administrators will be able to offer highly rated teachers monthly bonuses of between 400 to 1,000 shekels.

The Finance Ministry announced that it also intends to extend state-sponsored summer school programs through the end of July.

With the strike cancelled, the labor dispute will be withdrawn from the court docket.