PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Members of Philadelphia’s public school teachers union have ratified a tentative contract agreement that was four years in the making.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan made the announcement Monday night after the rank-and file met at the Liacouras Center.

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“The membership of the PFT ratified the tentative agreement,” Jordan said. “We now have a contract.”

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The vote: 4,399 in favor, 213 opposed.

The contract gives members mostly lump-sum payments instead of across-the-board raises, and it calls for teachers to begin paying health care premiums.  This teacher wanted to be made whole after going five years without a pay increase.

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“Raises from the time the old contract was up, and retroactive pay,” he said.  Because we worked all that time for nothing.”

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But Olney Elementary teacher Rachel Ok says this was the best they could get.

“There’s no money to give people retro for all those years,” she said. “And that is sad, and they do deserve it.”
Mayor Jim Kenney released the following statement on the vote.

“I thank members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for their approval of the contract. I know full well that throughout this long and difficult process, you have remained dedicated to the single most important matter: educating our city’s children,” the mayor said. “While I know this new contract does not make you entirely whole, I am confident that teachers, administrators and families will make greater strides in improving how our children learn and thrive in Philadelphia’s public schools. When we invest in our kids, it benefits every Philadelphian.”

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The deal now goes before the School Reform Commission, which must find a way to pay for it.