ABOVE PHOTO: A protest rally at South Philadelphia H.S. earlier this year over school closings.
Following a statement by Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement:
“I want to acknowledge that the teachers’ union today publicly recognized that it must play a role in helping the Philadelphia School District and its thousands of students and parents to get through this huge fiscal 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.
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.
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.
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.”