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Layoff notices hit 848 blue-collar workers

By Paul Socolar on Sep 14, 2011 06:34 PM

For a second time this month, the School District has responded to a union's rejection of a giveback proposal by announcing a mass layoff: 848 members of District 1201 of SEIU Local 32BJ, which represents transportation, maintenance, and custodial workers, are receiving notices that they will be laid off in 12 months.

Last week the District responded to a vote of the union that represents administrators, who rejected a concessions package, by promptly laying off 27 assistant principals. The layoff announcement appears to have persuaded administrators to reverse course and accept a similar package of concessions to the one they rejected.

This time, the layoffs are on a much larger scale.

The membership of District 1201 voted by a wide margin last week to reject contract concessions that would have allowed the District to achieve substantial savings in this year's budget. The School District is seeking concessions totaling $75 million from its unions.

The 12 months of notice given to District 1201 members reflect a no-layoffs clause in the union's contract. Because of that clause, they are the only School District union to have so far escaped layoffs stemming from the District's massive budget gap, District sources say.

According to District 1201 President George Ricchezza, it was the layoff issue that triggered his membership's rejection of a proposed agreement on union concessions. Members wanted the 12-month no-layoff clause honored, while the District wanted 575 layoffs, he said. He said the agreement rejected by the members also would have given back this year's 3 percent wage increase and $1 million in payments to the union's health and welfare fund.

"There's no doubt in my mind it's retaliation," Ricchezza said of the layoff announcement.

"They don’t believe the School District is being forthright with them when they can afford a $1 million buyout for Dr. Ackerman and they’re saying they're broke." He added, "My membership doesn’t feel they’re being totally honest with us."

The School District provided the following statement:

“As the School District of Philadelphia stated last spring, due to a reduction in state and federal funding, we would be forced to make some difficult decisions, including seeking needed concessions from our bargaining units. Unfortunately, members of the bargaining unit Local 32BJ District 1201, which includes transportation employees, building engineers, cleaning and maintenance personnel, recently rejected a tentative agreement we had reached with its leadership. As a result, the District is now forced to take other steps to achieve these needed savings, including sending notice to 848 facilities and transportation employees that they will be laid off effective 12 months from now in September 2012 in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.

"We continue to be in contact with 32BJ’s leadership and its members to discuss ways to meet our goal of savings and find alternatives that may reduce the need for this action.”

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Comments (63)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 7:44 pm

We are making a mistake by backing up, backing up and then backing up some more--By any means necessary, we need to demand that the state fund our children fairly. I know we[re being run by crooks but the kids should not be paying for their crimes. As always, they pay for the adults' abuses.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 7:00 pm

Unnecessary and malicious.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 7:27 pm

Just telling the truth and you know it too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 8:58 pm

I was responding to the original article, not your trolling.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 7:12 pm

I was wondering if Ms. Frazier and Ms. Kemp were brought to Phila. by Ackerman or were they already here prior to her coming ? Thanks.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 14, 2011 8:12 pm

 Both were brought in by Ackerman.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 8:50 pm

I wonder if she'll take them with her to her new site, assuming she has one and I also wonder if they had been with her in the past ?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 8:28 pm

Thank You.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 14, 2011 9:13 pm

Revenge firings. Are they legal?

Of course, in 12 months, the budget issues could be completely different. And it could be another humbug, like the one that basically deprived 600 teacher of healthcare for two months, caused them a lot of stress, then saw them returned to the district.

Odd things are happening throughout the district as reorganization approaches. Watch the district now attempt to fire on the teachers again. Schools have been stripped bare for their personnel and many are barely functioning because of the moving or laying off of crucial personnel, yet there are still a dozen and a half PR people at 440 making more than $100,000 a year.

Unions, stand strong. These lay-offs can't hold.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 14, 2011 10:40 pm

Hundreds of us are still laid off. Still waiting at home. Everyone said, oh, you'll all come back. Well, I have 3 certifications and I'm not back at school yet.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:33 am

what are your certs in?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:44 am

Elementary, 7-12 English, and ESOL.

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on September 15, 2011 9:50 am

I'd be calling 440 and finding out what is happening because there is the off chance they "tried calling and failed" or whatever they are saying when they didn't reach people on August 31st.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 9:12 am

I've heard from HR as recently as Sept 7th. Not called back.

Submitted by Public Health (not verified) on March 9, 2014 4:14 am

I really like reading through an article tthat can make people
think. Also, thanks for allowing for mee to comment!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 1:03 pm

I had to call them, she's right, they claim to have "failed to find 300 people". I didn't change my number since working with the district.. they never called me..but because i called and complained.. i got an opportunity to choose a site.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 16, 2011 11:04 pm

Even before these problems, 440 would "forget" to call people who were due to pick. I know at least two people who missed pick dates. One was flat out told by HR that they "forgot" to call her.

Most laid-off teachers are back; more will be back after the Oct. 1 reorganization. You have an awful lot of certs and unless you have less than a year experience, should have been recalled.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 4:24 am

You stand a chance of being recalled after leveling. Although, I never claimed everyone would be called back.

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:11 pm

My letter arrived late and the union gave us a 2nd chance to pick. Whatever that means! The process was completely unfair, even a PFT said it is like this every year. If you haven't been recalled, call every day because even if they mail a letter, you may not receive it on time or at all. And, many people were called or emailed, but that doesn't mean everyone was. There may be some positions opening because I know people who may quit.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2011 5:59 pm

I agree--a result of all things Ackerman--SOLIDARITY !!!!

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on September 14, 2011 9:46 pm

GREAT IDEA!

Take relatively low paid workers performing essential services, like bus maintenance (do busses really need all of those tires?), and room sweeping (teachers can do this, too!) to bridge a gap, while having how many data management companies? And having unused "resource centers," and who knows what other underutilized pet projects.

Ackerman may not be in the building but her scare techniques are still being used. When is this rats' nest of an organization going to be reclaimed by Philadelphia? Or is everyone willing to continue funding this criminal disgrace?

Stop 10 kids who are on the street during school hours, and task them to allocate resources to run the district and you are likely to get a more responsible management approach. And like the SRC, they wouldn't even have to attend.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 5:17 am

Of course these workers are utterly necessary, and must play that "card"/factor. In the meantime, I have utter sympathy with those affected. I just hope the memory of this fiasco lasts long enough for "blue collar" understanding and support of those of us who were critical of management spending over a year ago. Many seemed to think we were just "haters". I hope Gov. Corbett has allotted enough of the "Rainy Day fund" to Unemployment Compensation. Republican "fiscal responsibility", in all its hypocrisy, means in the end less for all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 6:19 am

As a teacher, I have to sweep and clean my own room yet there are general cleaners just sitting back and always complaining. When they are told to work, they suddenly fall or go on worker's comp for any other 'job related' issue.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:09 am

I've had mixed experiences with custodians and their equipment. I often can't even get a working vacuum for my room which clearly isn't the custodians fault. I do think some custodians need to either be more helpful or fired, but clearly getting rid of them won't help the situation. Even the worst custodians I've had to deal with were necessary for the school to function.

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:47 pm

Don't forget having to clean up mouse droppings too! Being a janitor or cleaning person in the SDP schools is a cake job! I've only seen but a few who actually work. The rest sit on their butts, yelling on their cell phones and making comments to kids all day. Waste of money!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:30 pm

Mine last year was great! If you (general you, not directed at a particular person) treat them like people you might find that your custodian is reacting to how they are treated.

The custodians who are good are also frustrated with their lazy coworkers. But, if you took a minute to talk to them, you might find out that last Thursday when nobody even touched your room the staff was up until 2 am dealing with a flood in the basement, or 3 people were out sick, or there was graffiti all over the bathroom.

It really isn't their job to clean up after your class, pets, your lunch, etc. Too many teachers leave their rooms a disaster and expect it to be magically sparkling the next morning. Now, some are lazy but you still might get a better response by treating janitorial staff like coworkers instead of servants.

And let's not forget all the members of the other unions in the district supporting the PFT and teachers. It would be very easy for them to say they are getting laid off because the teachers refuse to negotiate, and this is exactly what the district wants. But they haven't, and we need to repay their solidarity.

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 16, 2011 2:35 pm

Of course I and my fellow coworkers treat them like people. That's what they are and we are compassionate human beings. Look where we work! I have the students sweep and pick up after themselves. My room is typically considered spotless compared to others, according to the cleaning crew. But, I don't feel that I should have to clean it as well as I do. There's nothing for the cleaning people to do. I'm a teacher, my job is to teach. If I spend a lot of my time cleaning, that takes away from my actual job which the cleaning people are not going to do. So, there lies my frustration. I've learned to get the kids to do what they can because otherwise, I'm sweeping after hours, dusting, wiping down (which I do anyway), and then staying even later or coming in even earlier to get to my actual job- teaching! So, perhaps the cleaning people can stay later, work longer hours, etc. just as we do. Instead of sitting around, sipping their coffee and chit chatting they could be doing some work. I've seen it. I never liked it. I've even seen some mop with dirty, dirty water. So, though I do feel compassion for some that lost their jobs, in my classroom it won't be noticed because I do it all myself!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Mine last year was great! If you (general you, not directed at a particular person) treat them like people you might find that your custodian is reacting to how they are treated.

The custodians who are good are also frustrated with their lazy coworkers. But, if you took a minute to talk to them, you might find out that last Thursday when nobody even touched your room the staff was up until 2 am dealing with a flood in the basement, or 3 people were out sick, or there was graffiti all over the bathroom.

It really isn't their job to clean up after your class, pets, your lunch, etc. Too many teachers leave their rooms a disaster and expect it to be magically sparkling the next morning. Now, some are lazy but you still might get a better response by treating janitorial staff like coworkers instead of servants.

And let's not forget all the members of the other unions in the district supporting the PFT and teachers. It would be very easy for them to say they are getting laid off because the teachers refuse to negotiate, and this is exactly what the district wants. But they haven't, and we need to repay their solidarity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2011 10:00 am

Well, I straighten up my classroom, but it is my student's responsibility to sweep the floor, wipe off their desks, clean the blackboards, keep their area around their desks clean. That is apart of our daily routine.

At my school our janitorial staff is great and they do what ever we need done. I am always told by them that my classroom is always neat and tidy and I believe it should be. If the students mess it up, they clean it up. No maid service in their homes, no maid service in school and you best believe, I am not their maid.

And the best thing is, the students seem to enjoy keeping the room orderly and they don't mind completing the tasks that keeps the room neat and tidy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:37 am

When do contract negotiations start for the September 1, 2012 and beyond PFT teacher et cetera contract?

If they're targeting 848 a year in the future it seems they might target teachers with the next contract?

Submitted by tom-104 on September 15, 2011 2:11 pm

The Principals just made concessions rather than have 27 Assistant Principals laid off. (http://tinyurl.com/3bb5bku) 200 SSA's have just lost their health insurance (and had to find out when they went to the doctor!) (http://tinyurl.com/42wnuam) As this article states, 848 school district blue collar workers are told they will be laid off because they would not make contract concessions.

Is anyone naive enough to believe this is not preparation for going after the big enchilada, the PFT, to make concessions to close the $75 million budget gap?

To those teachers above who think this is the time to kick the blue collar workers when they are down, you are being very short sighted. Just wait for when the pressure is on for teachers to make concessions in wages and benefits. The press will be filled with stories about "bad teachers".

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 3:41 pm

I've never seen anything like this. Who can trust any type of organization that acts in the manner that it has and expect it's employees to trust them? Scare tactics being used when there is so much at risk; the well being of its employees. Shame on SD administration and SRC! This scare tactic is what it is...a scare tactic! If you look at the numbers verses exactly what the SD demands/wants from each union (15 million from each). The numbers don't add up, in particular for 32BJ members. If you average out the salaries and benefits of 850 members by even a low figure of 50k (salaries and benefits)...the amount the PSD saves is over 42 million which is more than 1/2 of the amount needed from just 1 union!!! In addition, the union can't afford to lose 850 members...that's a lot of money in union dues lost.
Mr. Ricchezza...go back to the table and talk! Demand adult conversation! Protect ALL your members and their families. There is NO reason for one single layoff! Be creative...money can be saved in so many other ways. Members don't back down...strength is in numbers!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:25 pm

Let us not forget that the principles received $30000 raises to become 12 month employees and vice principles received $20000 raises. Because of that it should be easy for them to give up their 3% raises.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 16, 2011 11:07 pm

Do you read the paper? It's always filled with stories of "bad teachers." We're to blame for everything, including a child's cavities and sniffles.

The Principals and the Building Engineers et.al. should never have opened discussions with the district. All five unions needed to stay together, yet the presidents of the unions mentioned above crumpled like paper dolls.

I think it it's possible for the district to threaten teachers they will - reorganization is coming up. Will they jettison art or music teachers?
They can't get rid of any classroom teachers, because classes are overflowing. We'll see what they try - and whether Jerry Jordan is more of a man than his weak CASA counterpart.

The overpaid execs at 440 N. Broad, in concert with the SRC, have acted with deep dishonor in the treatment of union employees, especially those who were left in limbo, with no chance of unemployment compensation (the per-diem cops) and the noontime aids, who were sold down the river by their own union. They lost all medical benefits without there having been a vote.

In closing - I don't know any teachers who have ever put down our colleagues in what you're calling "blue collar" unions. We're all in this together. Personally, I believe the Building Engineer and the secretary run the school.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 17, 2011 8:35 am

 Solidarity Forever

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Amen.

Submitted by Are you kidding (not verified) on September 15, 2011 4:07 pm

Good, I guess I'm getting laid off again if they're coming after PFT next. Really, that was fun so let's do it again.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 8:03 pm

The unions should all join and paralize the system. The fear can't be there and allow the district to intimidate they way they are doing.
No school can operate without cleaners, building engineers, NTA/Noon Time Aides, cafeteria workers, school police, teachers, SSA, teacher assistants, counselors, administrators and anyone else I may leave out.
Philadelphia residents will be paying more taxes because of Ackerman's and SRC's mismanagement.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 15, 2011 9:03 pm

This is such a no-brainer, that you have to wonder why the people we've elected to represent us can't figure out that it's the only way to survive. All of us are natural allies against 440, even the principals (and it would improve staff-principal relationships, as an added benefit).

So glad the PFT and the school police are standing strong, but if I were in the other unions, I'd call special elections to vote out the milquetoasts who readily bent over the moment the district made it clear it would attempt to resolve the budget deficit on the backs of its most important - and most underpaid - workers.

The Notebook did a great job scooping the Inquirer on this story, but I hope they'll keep digging. There's more coming soon and the only way to bear it is to lock arms and stick together.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 15, 2011 10:48 pm

I think it's a disgrace that the principals caved in. My school is bare bone. Now the custodial staff. While the Big boys and girls still make their money. The SRC and the district created this mess. Yes the state cut funding but the district was really over budget before the funding cut.

Why should the little people pay? Dr. Ackerman was paid close to a million dollars. I heard her PR people were also paid. Why didn't they hold up her money?

The managers of this district at 440 really suck!!!

Submitted by jo (not verified) on September 21, 2011 1:03 am

cool

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2011 12:00 am

After reading some of the comments here it seems obvious that no one understands that it is impossible to keep a building clean and running correctly with a short staff. Its like asking one teacher to teach 3 classrooms at once, it can't happen. Plus there is so much work being done by the building engineers and cleaning staff that no one even knows about. Most of the time the (professional) staff is unaware of the broken or dirty issues that we address everyday.
I dont recall my job description saying that I should have to change flat tires or give some one a hot shot for a dead battery or look for a teachers car because they forgot where they parked. But it is done because I have a heart.
How about all the vandalism in the schools? That isn't even factored in with all my daily duties. Plus I have a principal that is never satisfied. I don't try to be a principal but she wants to be a building engineer. She couldn't do my job, but I bet I could do hers. She also doesn't want me to report any vandalism incidents or I will be written up. I can go on and on since I have alot of years in the district. So welcome to my world of being treated like a non professional, or better yet less than human.

Submitted by B.E. Victim (not verified) on September 16, 2011 8:24 am

So many fellow Engineers share the same fate and are unrecognized for the effort made to keep their facilty (school) operational. I'm currently stationed (relief engineer) in an Elementary School in North Philly. I had a staff of four and now I have JUST ONE CLEANER...thats my staff...ONE CLEANER. Yet, my Principal is completely oblivious to my staffing problems and wants to know why her building isn't as clean as it was last season???

I close my eyes and try to imagine someone other than myself trying to operate this school and all I see is that same person running as FAST as they can away from the school---

It's not even heating season yet!

21 doors have to be open every morning. Testing fire alarms. Sweeping up broken beer bottles and glass. Finding all kinds of illegally dumped items in my ONE SMALL DUMPSTER that makes it impossible for me to discard my daily 47 trash bags to the small dumpster. Dealing with dead mice, birds, squirrels, and raccoons in which I have to place in bags and throw in my FULL Dumpster. Dealing with School District Police for when someone forcibly enters my school, City of Philadelphia Police for illegally parked cars in my parking lot, PHA (for when the surrounding residents want to leave used diapers and used condoms in my playpen)

Not to mention when a child wants to express themselves by defecating in the washroom toilet and then finds the urge to finger paint the walls with feces?!?!

I'm fearful of the layoff to my fellow 32BJ Union members, both for those who receive them and for those who do not! For the amount of stress that we indure. To deal with spoiled over-priced glorified toddlers (certain Principals...definitely mine!)

Because of the Budget mess, there is not enough money to pay for supplies and services. My Principal spent her peddy cash on Ipad 2 for her and her staff. Our school need new lawn care equipment and a better WORKING snow blower would had been nice too

I'm going to try to keep focus and work at 140%. Other than the finger painter, the kids at my school are extremely smart and are willing to learn more. I know many will become better Principals at Charter School, because the way things are progressing I don't see a future for the Public School

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2011 8:15 am

RIGHT ON BROTHER

You forgot to mention the fact that some of our schools have boilers that are over 40 years old and that we are in work by 5:00am on most days some days by 4:00am to make sure the buildings are nice and warm. In addition, that it is mandatory we work holidays in the winter months even on Christmas day some years. Imagine that teachers, you and your families are home opening gifts and we have to come in and run heat so when you return after your holiday break the buildings nice and toasty. Good luck teachers you are going to need it.

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 16, 2011 2:52 pm

Teachers already needed the good luck long before this. The SDP is a disaster, and will always be that way until some real leadership steps in.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 16, 2011 4:19 pm

Ok-you got me you made a good point... LOL

Submitted by jo (not verified) on September 21, 2011 1:25 am

I told you School Police

Submitted by B.E. Victim (not verified) on September 16, 2011 9:57 am

Yeah...there sure is a Silver Lining. I gave up my Labor Day this month to pull weeds in my school yard! I haven't taken a half-day or day off during the work week since last Fall 2010. My ONE Cleaner and myself worked in an unairconditioned building during the Heat wave this summer and we still managed to completely clean 100% of our building without requesting OT. Last year, I was a relief in a school where the Administrated Staff literally expected me to shovel out parking spaces for them! This winter is going to be another Hoot. We're most likely going to leave one boiler on all night and HOPEFULLY it will still be on by the time I clock-in the next day to keep the heat. God forbide our building goes cold, because our bosses no longer allow us to come in early to run heat. So if you have problem boilers and/or your windows in your building that are secured still provide a draft for warm air to escape (Hot goes to cold) or your running Low on heating oil for your boilers or ice forms on your pathways and you don't have enough rock salt or ice choppers

Yeah...winter is going to be another interesting horror story

Submitted by The Janitor (not verified) on September 16, 2011 9:30 pm

To the Building Engineer victim...your message sounds so familar... In my bldg I also have a bathroom artist along with a piss sniper shooting the radiators when they are hot. When you tell people what we endure they think I am making it up.You should be commended on a job well done for getting your bldg done on time with the group cleaning method. How can they call it a group when you have ONE Cleaner? Its amazing, in my bldg I have 2 Gen Cleaners.They have to stop saying the method of cleaning is group cleaning when most or maybe all of us do not have a group. We should write a book,it will be a best seller.The teachers have it made, summers off,thanksgiving week,christmas week, easter week, and all the other holidays in between...and work 6 hours a day with a lunch and prep.To all the Building Engineers keep up the excellent work. Remember, we have the key to a multi million dollar building. While it is good to vent in this forum, what we should be doing is planning to show how important we are especially durning the cold winter months.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2011 8:37 am

Not all teachers are bad, I have some in my building that help all the time, some even notice work that we manage to complete. Last year during one of the many snow storms. I had one of the teacher stop me in the hallway and told me what a great job I did with snow removal the teacher walking with him looked me right in the eye and said “you mean you have to shovel the sidewalks” They don't have the slightest clue what we're up against.

We hear it from the Principals, FACs, APs, Teachers, NTAs, Teachers Aids, Crossing guards, Parents, Students, School police, Heath department, L&I even Crack heads.We’re about to lose 848 of our union brothers and sisters and they come hear and complain about us, we get no respect.

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on September 17, 2011 8:03 am

 You deserve recognition and respect for the job you do.   We also need unity in the face of the growing attacks on public employees.   Historically PFT and 1201 have made only token efforts at building unity.   They have not educated and mobilized their memberships to support each other and they haven't honored each other's picket lines.   That needs to change.

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2011 10:48 am

I went to 440 when we all tried to go to the SRC meeting. 1201 was there in force standing behind us. I wonder how many teachers would go after a long day at school and support 1201 if they called a protest.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on September 18, 2011 6:14 pm

I would! Tell me when and where. We're all on the same team.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2011 11:25 am

Thanks Ron…. you sound like one of the good guys, its teachers like your self that make this job a little easier for us engineers. Just like the teacher that thanked me for the snow removal, that meant a lot to me. Its just that we’re about to lose our jobs… what do I tell my wife and kids? And to come on this site and see teachers complaining about their classrooms not being cleaned daily, it sure makes it hard to think about supporting the PFT…Sorry to say this to you Ron, but that not going to happen! Good luck to you man…but I have go, I need to start looking for another job!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 17, 2011 3:51 pm

I would say unity is severely lacking in all aspects of the SDP. Unions could go a long way toward helping that. Right now, though, they actually probably hurt it a bit. It's a fiefdom like environment. Teachers v. administrators v. maintenance workers, etc.

I have seen many different schools, and the ones that work the best -- from charter to public -- have always been the ones where union/bargaining unit identification was secondary to identification as part of the school community. Sometimes there weren't even unions, but in general it was just that people acted decently toward each other and with the core belief that everyone is ultimately on the same team (even administrators) and that blaming others for problems, while psychologically satisfying (humans love to construct enemies), doesn't really help anyone. In schools where "i"m going to call the union" was the first response to most disagreements, things were generally not pleasant for anyone.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on September 19, 2011 7:39 am

You have touched upon an issue which is at the heart of many of the problems with the district and many of its schools. The "culture of adversarialism" infects much of what we do. All good schools I have worked in, studied, or read about have the common element of being good school communities that function as a community.

If we indeed want to create great schools for children that serve all of our children well, "We need to grow as a community and rise above the adversarial processes of an era long gone that destroy the community of our schools." Community building is as important as relationship building for effective leadership and effective schools.

"Community building" should be made a major theme of our renewal efforts. Otherwise, there is little hope of us ever becoming a system of great schools for children, their parents and the professionals who work in them.

Submitted by Useless Blue Collar Worker (not verified) on September 17, 2011 9:34 pm

I hope they make a Public Service Announcement:

"Please send your children to school with their own toilet paper and paper towels, as well as, a can of Lysol as there will be limited, if any, cleaning personnel during the school year.

The lights, toilets, doors and windows may also not be functioning as the maintenance staff is no longer employed in an effort to continue the PSD policies of adding useless and expensive programs that are not being used by the children anyway.

It is advised that during the Heating and Air Conditioning months you cloth your children in anticipation of the loss of HVAC systems, as these too have be eliminated.

Unfortunately, the parents of our precious children will need to make arrangements to transport their children to and from school, again, the services of our school bus drivers are a drain on our financial needs to introduce , yet again, new programs.

We at the Philadelphia School District are proud of our attempts to make the school year an enjoyable and unforgettable experience for the children of Philadelphia."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 18, 2011 2:23 pm

Is the "75 million dollars" that are supposedly going to be saved by Union concessions the "Big Bailout" for a system 625 million in the red......come on.....what about all the six figure waists sitting in 440....

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 18, 2011 2:17 pm

I, as a teacher in the PFT, would gladly postpone a raise if it meant that other union workers kept their jobs. However, in light of the Ackerman payout, I would be unwilling to compromise. Why should I have to? The SDP must have money somewhere if they could pay that woman to leave. Make cuts where they make sense such as ceasing to purchase brand new curriculum materials to replace the one's that we've been using just because you shook hands and got a kick back from some publisher down in TX.

The system is rotten.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 18, 2011 4:35 pm

I think many PFT members would postpone a raise (again) if it kept jobs. But, school based budgets have already been cut to the bone - we are paying for our supplies. Does anyone at 440 have to buy their own paper, pencils, tissues, etc, etc. that are used by the students? What about the regional offices? Is all the staff necessary? (I'd love to know what qualifies some of the people in the regional offices for their positions other than who they know...)

Submitted by Anonymous55 (not verified) on September 19, 2011 10:44 am

You make an excellent point! In fact, why do teachers have to purchase their own supplies at all? In what other jobs do employees have to do such a thing? Independent contractors, yes. Employees, no. What qualifies so many people to work at the SDP that do has always been a mystery to me. The level of professionalism has always been lacking, and is just getting worse.

Submitted by alicia (not verified) on September 18, 2011 8:42 pm

this is bullshit,. my father is a hard worker and NEVER misses a day of work. he does what is asked of him, 7 days a week, as well as many other workers. if the schools are in trouble, what does that mean for the rest of the city?!?!?!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 20, 2011 1:59 pm

Nice post, thank you. I learned something.

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