Teachers at the 20 high schools operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will receive raises totaling approximately 11.9 percent over the next three years but will contribute more toward their health insurance, according to the contract they ratified yesterday.

The Local 1776 of the Association of Catholic Teachers and the archdiocese released the details of the three-year pact late yesterday. The agreement takes effect Sept. 1.

Salary increases of $1,750, $1,900 and $2,000 are called for in each of the three years respectively.

But due to rising health-care costs, the teachers will contribute more toward insurance premiums in the first and third years. They also will face higher copays for prescriptions and doctor vists in the second year.

Both sides agreed to encourage teachers to participate in wellness programs offered by the insurers.

The current two-year contract expires Aug. 31.

Talks were limited to salaries and benefits. In October, the union leadership and Bishop Joseph P. McFadden signed a memorandum agreeing to a streamlined negotiating process to ensure a new contract would be in place by June. The goal, they said, was to spare parents, staff, and nearly 20,000 Catholic high school students anxiety.

McFadden, an auxiliary bishop who oversees education in the five-county archdiocese, said earlier this year that it seemed like a waste of time to spend weeks reviewing contract language that had been hammered out during four decades of negotiations.

In a joint statement, both sides praised the agreement for allowing school to open on time in the fall.

Two years ago, the contract was ratified three hours before the unionized teachers were set to strike.

And in 2003, a 13-day strike caused students to miss five days of instruction, which they had to make up later that academic year.

The union represents about 930 lay instructors. Instructors at Catholic elementary schools are not unionized.

Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or martha.woodall@phillynews.com.