By Steve Tawa, Cleve Bryan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter says the School Reform Commission was out of options when it suddenly canceled its contract with the teachers’ union yesterday morning.

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The mayor says he would have preferred a negotiated contract but supports the SRC’s decision to redirect funds to help children in classrooms.

“This is not the preferred route, but it is where we are,” Nutter said today.

“I am in disagreement with the Mayor. I think just like they expect us as teachers to constantly be recreating how we’re going to work with less and still be expected to do the same. I’m going to expect more of my politicians,” says Lauren Overton, a history teacher at the Meredith School.

“The SRC decision was just one more hit that we’ve had to take from a system that doesn’t seem to really care too much about what we do,” says Kelly Schaaf, a literacy teacher at the Meredith School.

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The School Reform Commission voted to require members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to contribute to their health care benefits.  The SRC’s sweeping, unilateral move will be challenged in court by the PFT.

As to the method by which the SRC hastily arranged the special meeting, with minimal notice, Nutter responds:

“I don’t know that any of the folks who are upset about this would feel any different about it if the meeting had been conducted in the middle of Broad Street at noon.”

As the SRC made its decision to bypass negotiations and impose terms on the PFT, Mayor Nutter was in Harrisburg for a rally calling for a permanent school funding formula from the state.

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