Teachers union suggests hold on salary increases, revised health plans

School district of Philadelphia headquarters on North Broad Street. Rikard Larma/METRO
The School District of Philadelphia is trying to close a budget gap. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

Representatives for the Philadelphia teachers union offered contract concessions today in their attempt to help the school district overcome budget problems.

The proposal includes a hold on salary increases and changes to its members’ health care coverage.

“We know that at current staffing levels the school district cannot assure parents, students and employees that schools will be safe and more than just ‘functional,’” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “Every child deserves access to a counselor, a school nurse, a librarian and other services in their schools.”

Schools are set to open Sept. 9.

The School District of Philadelphia spokesman Fernando A. Gallard said in a statement that in order to provide essential services to students, the school district needs resources.

“In this time of crisis, the district has asked all of its employees to contribute, including by salary reductions and making reasonable contributions to their health insurance costs,” Gallard said in the statement. “We have asked for $103 million in recurring savings from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and their announcement today, while lacking in specifics, appears to fall well short of that amount. We clearly have a ways to go on both economics as well as on important educational reforms that will provide the type of learning environments our children deserve. We look forward to continuing the collective bargaining process.”

Jordan said he hoped Mayor Michael Nutter would use his power as mayor to push the governor’s office to change how the state funds public education.

“Philadelphia has been targeted most harshly by the governor, but we have plenty of company statewide suffering from the effects of his policies,” Jordan said.

In a statement, Mayor Michael Nutter said he acknowledged the teachers union publicly recognized that it must play a role in helping the school district push throughout the financial crisis.

“As I told leaders in Harrisburg in the many, many meetings during the spring and summer, Philadelphia needs a new funding formula for us and for districts across the state. It is a cause we’ll be fighting for in Harrisburg again this fall,” he said. “But the issue before us right now is what’s happening at the negotiating table between the School District and the teachers union. And what was announced today 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.”

Nutter added that he is “disappointed that teachers union leaders, who profess concern for the city’s schoolchildren, 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.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.