Education Funding News in Brief

Battle Waged in Philadelphia Over Quashing of Union Contract

By Denisa R. Superville — October 14, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission and the city teachers’ union are headed for a showdown over whether the school district can unilaterally disregard the union contract—which expired in 2013—and require union members to pay $27 to $71 per paycheck toward their health benefits.

The commission made the stunning move last week, after more than 21 months of negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Other unions had made similar concessions, said William J. Green, the commission’s chairman.

Members of the commission, created by state law in 2001 to manage the 130,000-student district, argue that the law gives it expansive powers to make the contract changes. Despite that, the commission and the state education department promptly headed to court to request a declaration affirming the action.

Meanwhile, hundreds of high school students boycotted classes in protest of the commission’s action, according to local media accounts.

PFT President Jerry Jordan called the commission’s move a “union-busting” tactic that he vowed to fight. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said it was a “well-planned Hail Mary ambush” by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, who is battling for re-election amid criticism that he made massive education cuts during his first term.

“This is not an effort by the SRC to address the fiscal crisis,” Mr. Jordan said in a statement. “This is the Corbett administration’s attempt to vilify the PFT in order [to] distract from his horrible record on education funding and boost his chances of re-election.”

Mr. Green and schools Superintendent William R. Hite said the move was necessary to help the perennially underfunded district free up revenue and avoid more cuts and layoffs.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 15, 2014 edition of Education Week as Battle Waged in Philadelphia Over Quashing of Union Contract

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP