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23 Jun 2017

The School Reform Commission approves PFT contract

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June 23, 2017 Category: Local Posted by:

$202 million contract includes more instruction time for students, health care savings  for the District and taxpayers, pay raises for teachers, and changes to how the District operates.


The School Reform Commission on Tuesday approved the tentative contract agreement ratified Monday by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.  This new PFT labor contract will run through August 31, 2020.  The agreement includes compensation increases for the first time in five years for Philadelphia teachers, restores contract certainty to the District’s workforce, brings stability to the School District of Philadelphia and makes major improvements to how the District operates. 

“My top priority this school year has been to get a contract with the PFT that recognizes the hard work of teachers and school staff.  Teachers and school staff are at the heart of our work to create great schools close to where children live. And on the last day of school I am proud to say we have accomplished that goal.  We have a contract with the PFT and we have brought another important piece of stability back to the School District of Philadelphia,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia.

“This agreement does more than just reward our teachers. It makes critical changes that will improve learning opportunities for children.  It adds more instructional time for students, delivers full site selection of teachers so the right teacher is selected to join the right school team, and allows for teachers to collaborate to improve instructional practices,” added Hite.  “I want to thank Jerry Jordan for his unwavering commitment to getting a contract done and acknowledge Mayor Kenney and Governor Wolf for their leadership, which was steadfast during this lengthy negotiation process.”

The new labor contract will cost the District approximately $202.6 million over the life of the contract. Key provisions of the agreement include:

  • PFT members will receive compensation increases for the first time in five years that include a combination of: steps, lane changes, bonuses, and an across-the-board salary increase in 2019.
  • Full site selection for all schools and teacher positions.
  • Increased teacher work day for instruction to meet the statewide average in 2019.
  • All PFT members will contribute to their health care for the first time saving the District over $46 million on its medical costs.

“This contract is one I am proud to support as SRC Chair,” said Joyce Wilkerson, Chair of the School Reform Commission.  “The teachers of Philadelphia have gone long enough without a contract and this contract is one that benefits our teachers, our students and the entire School District of Philadelphia.”

“Thank you to the thousands of teachers who have supported our students through this difficult period. This contract goes a long way in ensuring a stable and committed workforce which is critical in order to see the District’s investments yield results for our children. Otherwise, our significant investment in the professional development of teachers will continue to benefit children in other school districts,” said Dr. Christopher McGinley, SRC Member.


A contract that brings raises, and certainty for Philadelphia teachers:

  • Certainty for Philadelphia teachers with a contract that runs through 2020.
  • Compensation increases for the first time in five years.
  • Four lump sum bonuses (the first in July 2017) paid to senior teachers over the life of the contract.
  • Restores lanes for the first time in five years.

Meaningful changes to District operations that put students first and maximize our investments: 

The School District of Philadelphia continues to make improvements, and this contract makes critical changes to how we operate, allows us to maximize our investments, and improves the classroom experience for students.   

  • Full site selection for all schools and teacher positions.
  • Agreed to teachers collaborating during planning time to improve instructional practices.
  • Increased teacher work day for instruction to meet the statewide average by 2019.
  • Kindergarten will begin on the same day as all other grades starting in SY2018-2019.
  • Teachers will receive professional development and training related to restorative practices and other approaches to keep children safe and build respectful school environments.

Necessary financial savings for the School District and taxpayers:

  • All teachers will contribute to their health care – reducing District expenses by saving $31.8 million over contract.
  • Redesign of the PFT medical plan to save the District an additional $13.9 million over contract.
  • $16.7 million in savings through reductions in Health and Welfare contributions, and 6 payment holidays.

Additional recurring revenue from the City’s new commercial reassessment helped us reach a deal – but long term financial challenges remain.

The recent announcement of additional, reliable and recurring revenue from the City’s commercial reassessment ($65 million annually) helped get us closer to a deal.  However, the SDP still faces significant financial challenges moving forward as our expenses continue to outpace our revenues.

Funders understand the District’s need to meet its known future financial challenges.  The District will continue working closely with its city and state funders to identify a long-term funding solution that allows the District to continue to invest in children and schools. 

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