By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers held what was supposed to be a contract ratification meeting Monday night, but without a deal in place with the School District of Philadelphia, the meeting was more of a rally and status update on negotiations.
PFT President Jerry Jordan says some steps have been taken in the right direction, but not enough to get a deal done:
“We’ve made some progress, but we have a significant amount of work that has to be done before we will reach an agreement.”
Jordan wouldn’t discuss specifics of proposed teacher concessions that the school district rejected over the weekend, saying the numbers are fluid and subject to change as negotiations continue.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten also addressed the crowd, saying teachers across the country are keeping a watchful eye on city and state officials:
“It is a mockery to talk the talk about education being important, and then see the facts on the ground in Philadelphia,” she said.
School District of Philadelphia spokesman Fernando Gallard released the following statement Monday…
“The School District of Philadelphia has been negotiating since January a multi-year agreement with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) to replace the expired collective bargaining agreement.
We are asking the PFT to join the approximately 3,000 School District employees who are making significant contributions to help address the District’s financial challenges through salary reductions and by making reasonable contributions to their health insurance costs.
The $103 million in contributions the School District is seeking from the PFT will enable the District to rehire some teachers and counselors — and strengthen schools. The District also is seeking work rule changes that would enable schools to innovate and adapt to meet the needs of students and increase student achievement.
The current offer from the PFT falls far short of the $103 million in recurring savings our students need and does not include necessary educational reforms.
We plan to remain at the table with the PFT to work toward reaching a meaningful agreement that will provide Philadelphia students with the kind of education they deserve. We remain optimistic that a fair agreement can be reached.
The District is on target to have a safe and successful opening of schools on September 9.”