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Philadelphia teachers reach contract deal

Union, school district reach deals after escalating complaints from teachers.
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry T Jordan (Charles Mostoller)

After four years with no contract, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers voted — by a landslide vote of 4,399 to 213 — to accept a new contract for the city’s educators.

As reported by the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, the new deal includes some pay increases for teachers in the union, will run through 2020 and will cost the Philadelphia School District about $395 million.

Shortly after Monday evening’s announcement that the contract had been ratified, Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement saying that investing in the improvement of the lives of children throughout the city makes Philadelphia a better place for every resident.

"I thank members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for their approval of the contract.  I know full well that throughout this long and difficult process, you have remained dedicated to the single most important matter: educating our city's children,” said the mayor. “While I know this new contract does not make you entirely whole, I am confident that teachers, administrators and families will make greater strides in improving how our children learn and thrive in Philadelphia's public schools. When we invest in our kids, it benefits every Philadelphian."

After going years without pay increases, the city’s teacher’s union has long fought for a new contract. Some even crowd-funded a protest banner — that read “City Hall ‘loves’ sports but hates our teachers” — that was flown over the Ben Franklin Parkway during this year’s NFL Draft in Philadelphia.

More recently, in May, hundreds of teachers marched on City Hall during a May Day protest, calling for a new contract.