Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia public school students don’t begin classes until next week, but teachers are back in their classrooms this morning, and they’re without a contract, after it expired over the weekend. Teachers, though, say while the contract is a concern, the bigger concern is how understaffed schools could be after thousands of teachers, counselors and other staff were laid off earlier this year.
The union has agreed to a pay freeze and to healthcare contributions, but the district says that falls far short of the $103 million in concessions it needs.
Already bracing for a difficult year after massive layoffs cleared out thousands of teachers, counselors and other professionals, teachers say they didn’t cause this financial mess, but now they feel they’re the ones paying for it,
“We are not a funding source, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a legal obligation to fun an adequate education for all students.”
The district is looking for pay cuts from 5 to 13 percent, and rule changes.
There was a union meeting last night at the Liacouras Center in North Philadelphia (see related story).