By Dom Giordano
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano talked to William Hite, Superintendant of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, about the decision to cancel their contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Hite defended the SRC’s move to implement changes forcing teachers to contribute to their healthcare benefits.
“Even with all of the funds that we’ve received, through the sales tax extension, through the cigarette [tax], even with those monies budgeted, we still do not have sufficient resources in schools and so we felt the less onerous approach was to ask individuals to contribute to benefits so that we’re able to return those monies into classrooms to support children in classrooms that should have materials and supplies that other school districts and children from other areas would consider basic supplies that should be in classrooms.”
He also stood by their decision to announce the decision with no prior notice given to the teachers union.
“The SRC exercised the authority that was given to it in the law that formed the SRC. It’s the only entity in the Commonwealth that has the authority and power to cancel an agreement for the purpose of economic efficiencies and that’s the action that the SRC took yesterday. Now, that does make it a legal action, those things also protected under the law meant we had to take the action in a public meeting, but all of the other conversations leading up to that were conversations that were done in closed sessions that are protected conversations.”
Hite said he would do anything necessary to get the school district the revenue it needs to adequately conduct business.
“We are trying to get resources in schools, and I know it’s easy for individuals who don’t have to make a choice to say, ‘look, you could’ve done it this way or that way,’ but if, in fact, all other avenues are closed and the only avenue available to us to get additional resources into schools is this one, then I’m going to make that decision every time on behalf of our children.”
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