The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said in a release late last night that Mayor Michael Nutter is less concerned about schools opening on time and is m0re concerned about taking "voice away from educators."
“It’s time for Mayor Nutter to show real leadership and work with educators, parents and students to give our kids the public education they deserve,” according to a statement from Jerry Jordan, union president.
Yesterday, the union announced a proposal that included a hold on salary increases and changes to its members’ health care coverage to help the school district remedy its budget issues.
The school district has repeatedly asked the unions for upward of $103 million in contract concessions so the district can meet budget requirements. The state will make $45 million available to the district once union contract concessions are made.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, Nutter said he has repeatedly told state leaders that a new formula for funding public education is needed.
"But the issue before us right now is what’s happening at the negotiating table between the school district and the teachers union," Nutter said. "And what was announced (Wednesday) lacks any detail. More to the point, it appears to be very far from the work rule changes and $103 million in savings that the district needs.
"I’m disappointed that teachers union leaders, who profess concern for the city’s school children, were silent on the critical changes in staffing flexibility and related work rules that are vital if district schools are to become more competitive with other schools by being more welcoming, safe and academically effective," Nutter added.
"Let’s remember, these negotiations began in January and the teachers union let months pass without any proposals to deal with this fiscal crisis. I am hopeful that today’s sudden and unusually timed announcement is the first step toward a contract that fulfills the district’s need for new work rules and $103 million, which in turn will enable our schools this fall to provide close to the level of staffing that schools had in June when our students were last in their classrooms.”