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Countdown, Day 27: Philly's elected officials want $45 million now; Zogby says no

by Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 13 2013 Posted in Countdown to calamity?
Photo: Dale Mezzacappa

Mayor Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke, and Philadelphia's legislative delegation demand the release of $45 million for the city's schools.

[Updated with further reaction, 6:50 p.m.]

The city's legislative delegation, Mayor Nutter, and City Council leaders joined Tuesday in urging the state to immediately release $45 million in state-authorized dollars to the District so that schools can open on time.

They sent to Gov. Corbett a list of reform accomplishments that they say fulfills the state's requirements for release of those dollars. In passing the fiscal code in June, state legislators stipulated that the School District must implement "operational, educational and fiscal reforms" deemed by the state's education secretary to be sufficient before money appropriated by the state for city schools can be released.

But state Budget Secretary Charles Zogby immediately said that wouldn't happen. He issued a statement that notwithstanding the nine specifics outlined in the letter, major changes in the District's contract with the teachers' union are required.

“A new collective bargaining agreement with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that makes substantial progress toward achieving the fiscal savings and academic reforms set out by CEO Hite and the School Reform Commission must be in place before any new funding is released," Zogby's statement said.

In a later interview, Zogby said it was disingenuous for the legislators to want credit for reforms that had already happened before the state budget was passed. The reforms listed included the 24 school closings, the conversion of low-performing schools to Renaissance charters, the creation of a virtual school, and various efficiencies in transportation, utility use, and other areas.

"When the legislative language was being crafted and moving through the process here, everyone was well-aware that the SRC had already taken a number of steps to address the District's financial challenges," he said. "This notion of somehow taking credit for things that already happened ... is off base." 

Zogby said the clear answer to assure that schools open on time is for the City Council to get busy and pass the extension of a 1 percent sales tax and then borrow $50 million against it this year -- part of the contorted bailout plan for the District devised in Harrisburg. Superintendent William Hite has said that without access to at least $50 million by this Friday, schools won't open on time because he doesn't feel it would be safe to open them without adequate staff.

Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke disagree on the sales tax solution, however. Nutter reluctantly accepted the deal that would divert $120 million in revenue from the sales tax extension to the schools, starting in 2014. Clarke said he wants to use much of that money to help solve the city's looming pension crisis. The mayor and City Council had wanted a $2 cigarette tax, but Harrisburg failed to act on that option.

Zogby said that although he sympathizes with the city's pension woes, the school crisis is more immediate.

"There's an immediate crisis with schools. It's like a house is burning and people want to save water for spring gardening. I'm not dismissing out of hand the city's challenges with the pension, but it seems to me crisis involving the kids is more immediate and important than long-term funding crisis with pensions."

At the press conference, Clarke kept saying "stay tuned" as to how close he and the mayor were on a solution to the disagreement regarding the plans for additional city funding. He said an announcement of a deal could happen as soon as Wednesday.

The rhetoric at the press conference got heated. State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams said that schoolchildren and parents were being "held hostage" by the state. Williams, the Senate Democratic whip and a vocal supporter of charter schools, said that it was unprecedented for the state to require an acceptable labor agreement from a specific union before releasing money that has already been budgeted.

"It's inappropriate to tie money that has been appropriated and funded and hold it back and pretend it's fair to do that," he said.

Plus, Williams said, the deal to free up the $45 million -- which is coming because the federal government has stopped demanding reimbursement from the state for past welfare overpayments -- was negotiated by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who, like all the officials at the press conference, is a Democrat. Now, he said, the money is being held up to fulfill what he called a political agenda on the part of the Republican governor.

In any case, Sen. Vincent Hughes said that in the legislation, "There was no language that refers to the $45 million as being the last in."

Zogby vehemently disagreed.

"It was always clear that the state money would be the last money in," Zogby said in the interview. He said that the state only wants what Hite and the School Reform Commission are asking for from the PFT, including changes in seniority rules that will allow principals to assemble their own teams of teachers.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said that neither Hite nor SRC chair Pedro Ramos would comment on whether they support the position that the $45 million should be released before PFT contract negotiations are concluded. He said that Hite and Ramos are "agnostic" as to where the money comes from as long as they get the money by Friday. 

Hite and the SRC want efficiencies in benefits, which for the PFT alone cost the District $212 million in 2012, and across-the-board pay cuts, which they say will yield most of the $133 million they are targeting in labor savings. But they also want to restructure the entire compensation system -- stopping automatic raises based on longevity and education level with an unspecified "performance-based" pay scale.

That would make Philadelphia the only district in the Commonwealth that does not pay its teachers for additional degrees and certifications, throwing into the great unknown what that will do for teacher recruitment and retention, which are already a problem in the city.

Zogby said it would be premature to speculate on what, exactly, will satisfy the state. Although acting Secretary of Education William Harner is the official that will have to officially certify the reforms and release the money, Zogby said he was speaking for the administration.

The leadership of the teachers' union, for its part, has been largely silent, but has been holding regional meetings for its members around the city this week. Sources said PFT officials have been telling members that the two sides are very far apart on reaching any agreement, although negotiations are proceeding daily. The contract expires on Aug. 31, and schools are scheduled to open on Sept. 9.

The PFT has been holding rallies outside schools and will hold one by Harding Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia on Wednesday. It is also planning a major demonstration on Aug. 22 that will start at the Comcast building, sources said.

In a statement, PFT president Jerry Jordan said that "chronic lack of resources has brought this crisis to our schools, not work rule provisions in collective bargaining agreements. Parents of Philadelphia public schoolchildren should be outraged that Harrisburg is holding their education for ransom in order to force reforms that will do nothing to improve education."

Mark Gleason of the Philadelphia School Partnership called for the city to extend the sales tax to allow for the $50 million in borrowing, and for the District and PFT to come to an agreement that will release the state's $45 million. PSP lobbied Harrisburg to make any contribution to city schools contingent on labor reforms, especially changes in seniority rules that give principals and schools more leeway in choosing their staffs.

While saying that borrowing is not ideal, Gleason said in a statement that the District needs the money. He added, "It especially needs the $45 million in onetime funding from the state that is contingent on enacting much-needed reforms. It also very much needs those reforms, especially those that ensure teachers are working in schools and classrooms that are the best fit for their skills and experience."

Read additional reporting on this story at NewsWorks.


The School District of Philadelphia faces an unprecedented situation – uncertainty over whether it will be in a position to open safe and functioning schools in September.

This feature, appearing each weekday, is an effort to highlight developments and motivate action as we get closer to the beginning of the school year. We encourage readers to send us information about both concerns and breakthroughs to countdown@thenotebook.org.

 
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Comments (82)

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:22.

Anybody who believes any of this, I have a bridge to sell you. Mutter and his peeps are thick as thieves in all this destruction. Call and blaspheme the writers of such crap and ask what's their cut. This is embarrassing and they're STILL trying to play us as fools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:27.

Guess we're moving on to plan B - City Council get busy and pass the extension of a 1 percent sales tax and then borrow $50 million against it this year - if we want schools to open on time.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:33.

What they are doing is holding children hostage. There is no way to lie their way around it. Like Joe says, "There's nobody to lie to anymore."

And this is what education has degenerated into? What ever happened to our sense of ethics?

What ever happened to our collective responsibility to children?

What is so scary is those guys think that is alright to do that to children and families of Philadelphians.

This isn't just an absurd attack on teachers. It is an attack on all Philadelphians.

It is outrageous that this is happening anywhere in America. Just outrageous.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:30.

For God's sake someone contact Jerry Jordan and get a fire lit under Deborah Willig and Ralph Teti!!!!! The courtroom is where this should end up. Hope the PFT lawyers are ready to strike. Corbett and State have obligation to make sure schools are funded. I say no school at all until there is a music teacher, librarian, counselor, and nurse in every school.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:48.

I have been reiterating this for weeks now-this is a battle that can and should be fought in the courts. We can stop talking about how unfair and immoral this is to the children/families, but we will never have the ear of anyone important if we do not litigate now. As a PFT member and senior career teacher, I am ready to fight for what I have worked for for 30 years. I am hopeful that the reason Jerry is silent is because he does not wish to show his hand too soon. Gov. Corbett doesn't seem to realize that PFT/AFT members vote! FAPE (free and appropriate public education) is guaranteed by law to all in this state and privatization cannot and will not succeed when challenged through the legal system at the state level and at the federal level. Please people-stop complaining and urge Jerry to pursue legal avenues.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:30.

Rich---First of all, I'm still trying to recover from the Zogby chest bumping stuff. Now, you're misquoting me----There's nobody left to lie to. Actually, I stole it from Christopher Hitchens who was referring to Bill Clinton.
Yes, it is shameless and Mutter, Kenny "I gots mines" Gamble and Scotty "2 Shoes" Gordon think it's equally spiffy. Germans in the big cities in the 1920's were saying the same kind about being shocked at The Nazis. As my Pappy used to say, "When you don't care, you have nothing to lose."

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:39.

I apologize if I did not get it exactly right. This stuff is just amazingly insane.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:11.

Amazingly insane it certainly is !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:34.

Zogby is the problem here. Corbett will become a one-term governor so Zogby better be looking for a job next year.

Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:24.

Go ahead. Elect a democrat and they will raise your taxes. At the end of the day, you will lose any way you slice it. Corbett and Zogby will walk right into a 6 figure, maybe 7 figure job along with that big fat pension.

Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:08.

What's the big deal about raising taxes? You write that like it's a curse, but it isn't. We have the lowest state income tax rate in the country and a non-prograssive one at that. Only the few states that have other revenue streams they can substitute for income tax proceeds have lower rates except for the very poor (progressive tax states have higher rates overall, but charge their poorest less than we do on average.)

Raising taxes is what should have been done in Harrisburg all along. If it had been, then all the state's districts would be able to have the funding they need, including Philly.

Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 18:49.

Stewart - There's enough money to go around right now. Like allot of folks, I'm tapped out and refuse to spend good money after bad money. Let the village of Philadelphia pony up the money and pay for it.

Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 19:46.

We already are. In case you hadn't noticed, every cent in money promised to the SDP over and above the standard state education funding that everyone gets (and that inherently short-changes large, urban districts; but I digress) is all tax money that is coming from the pockets of Philadelphians, no one else. We're the ones ponying up, not the state. They're just using cash that isn't even theirs (it's money that Bob Brady convinced the Federal government that the state shouldn't have to pay back if they gave it to the schools instead) to try and strong-arm radical concessions that have nothing to do with economics or educational quality out of the PFT.

Meanwhile, those of us who are home owners in the city (including a large percentage of PFT members, by the way) have had our property tax bill climb sharply with the Real Value Initiative. Most of us are happy to pay if the money goes to the SDP, but the same can't be said of the radicals who have pushed the funding deal. Take a look at who put their hand behind it, Comcast and their executive VP David Cohen; this from a company whose shiny new headquarters downtown is property tax-free and who had a strong hand in keeping the Business Privilege Tax from being raised as an extra source of school funding. That's the kind of thing we face here in the cradle of Liberty.

It's pretty easy for people like you to sit there in your insular, suburban enclave and sneer at us to "pay our own way" when you have full control of your school system and no major burden from the less fortunate members of society. But you tell us to "shoulder the load" even though we are one of the most heavily taxed cities in the nation. So you tell me, when the situation is that state income taxes are at record lows but we here in Philly pay taxes at record highs, how we're not paying our way more than anyone else?

It's also important to point out the other problem with your flip attitude toward Philly's problems; we don't control the school district and can't make it do anything, either as citizens or as teachers (except through our union and contact.) The SCR runs the district and the majority of the members are the governor's appointees. They set all budgets and policy, they negotiate or approve all contracts (not just union, but procurement, etc.) and they hire and fire all senior executive positions. The public has no say and no vote. This was instituted in 2001, supposedly to clean up the finances, but that's never happened and only gotten worse under the state's watch, yet we have no way to get our district back. We're stuck with a failed state control and the short end of the funding stick, being used by a governor who wants to break a union for his own political cred and to throw a bone to some of his donors. What happens to the kids, the school staff, the district or the city is the last thing anyone but those of us who live here and care about them have in mind.

Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 16:01.

As a citizen of this city and this country, I don't mind paying taxes. I like having The Free Library of Philadelphia. I like having my trash picked up weekly. I like the police and the fire fighters and since they risk their lives, I would pay even more taxes so that they could earn a better salary. I like having a Public Health Department. And I like having public schools to educate our children. One thing nay sayers forget on a regular basis is that Philadelphia has two of the BEST schools in the state: Central and Masterman.

Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 19:04.

I don't mind paying taxes, but I do mind paying MORE taxes. Like I said to Stewart, I'm tapped out and had enough of the government crying for more money. There's a sucker born every minute. The pols will keep coming after you time and time again for more of your money. What will happen NEXT year to SDP? Did you forget about SDP borrowing $300 million last year?

Maybe that's why we don't have a middle class anymore. The pols keep taking more for themselves and the 1%. Isn't SDP a TEXTBOOK case proving my point? Think about it.

BTW, there's nothing stopping you (or anyone) for that matter writing a check to SDP. I'm sure that they will be glad to take it.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:57.

Mayor Nutter and State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams long ago gambled their careers on supporting corporate education reform. They may not have been on board with Corbett's ALEC agenda, but they have been outspoken supporters of privatization through charters and vouchers for many years and were working with Corbett on that agenda.

At the press conference Senator Williams decried that this holding Philadelphia hostage was also going to hurt charters, parochial schools, and private schools. It would be laugh out funny if the consequences weren't so tragic! Didn't they know that if you dance with the devil you are going to get burned?

I wonder if it has crossed their minds that they've been had.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:31.

Where the hell is Jerry Jordan??????? Never hear a peep from him in all of this!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:36.

Teachers----Do not sell out to corporate greed!!!! Stand your ground!! You run the Union and no one else!!!

Walk out and let Corbett talk the political fall. Don't have the schools open. Zogby will then cave!!!

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 22:01.

Exactly Right. It's a now or never situation and our foes are banking on Jordan caving---bet on it. They wouldn't dream of bullying Pat Gillespie or Johnny Doc. They'd wake up screaming and crying like the wusses they are. They're picking on The PFT because they think we're even more cowardly than they. Advanced Degrees, my ass!! Bring It On, Scum Bags !!

Remember, ML King gets accolades in all directions for Marching and getting results. What isn't often taught though is that The Government--Johnson, Kennedy, and up to Nixon, all knew that they'd be far, far, far better off supporting King rather than face the wrath of Malcolm X and his folks. Point is, was, and will FOREVER be, Power doesn't give up Power unless real "Pressure," up close and personal, comes their way. We all need to take off our teachers' hats and put on our hard hats. Solidarity.

P.S. This is for all teachers everywhere, especially the inner cities.

Submitted by South Philly teacher (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:46.

The best is that Bob Brady helped negotiate the 45 million deal that they are now holding hostage. The rule of politics in Philly and the state is don't piss off Bob Brady. Now they have. Let the fireworks begin. He may become the PFT's new best friend.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:03.

I am just beyond shocked by all that I am reading. Now, concessions are demanded of the PFT. Teachers deserve an honest pay. How can teachers, who already give up so much of their salaries by way of buying supplies and other materials for their classrooms that are not supplied by the School District. Yes, teachers get a mere $100 allotment per school year. Yes, teachers are able to write off $250 dollars of what they spend in materials and supplies for their classroom. But the average teacher spends way over $350 for materials. Whatever the amount that teachers spend, remember that that money is taken away from the teacher's family. I am just disgusted by what I am reading.

What happens when the teacher's contract expires on August 31st? Can teacher's legally strike in Pennsylvania and not be fired for doing so? If teachers can strike, how long can they strike for?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:08.

No one will be under contract at that point so how can the state say otherwise? They cannot force you to work for a wage that is unacceptable. If we were one of the top paid school districts in PA then it would be different, but we're only fourth from the bottom.

Submitted by Joan Taylor 1 (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:39.

I have been trying unsuccessfully to verify your statement that we are fourth from the bottom in teacher pay in Philadelphia. If true, that would be a pretty strong weapon in our defense. Can you tell me where you found this info? Thanks!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:06.

Zogby also waited on Edison hand and foot when they were running the Chester school district into the ground. When they said they didn't have enough money he tossed them another million. That wasn't enough as they soon wanted the district to take over responsibilities they said they do. Eventually they did such a lousy job that Edison was fired. Zogby disappeared from his secretary of education position and turned up working for William Bennett's company. Now he's back to his old tricks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:35.

According to PA law, we would remain in "status quo" if a contract is not reached by the end of the contract date. That would mean the PFT would continue to get the same pay, benefits and rights. A local example would be Neshaminy. They went 5 years without a contract, so they continued to maintain the expired one under status quo for over 5 years.

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:55.

Why is the PFT holding up the $45 Million distribution? Once we get the concessions out of the way, the state will release the money. The PFT shouldn't be holding the kids hostage like this!

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 20:59.

So it's PFT vs. SCR vs. State Gov't vs. City Gov't.....a game of four ball....a big game of chicken. Hostage is a game of chicken...everybody has to get something they want....everybody has to give something that they want....when does this start to happen?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 21:56.

The PFT didn't make the demands, the state did. Enough with your hysterics and lying. Concessions out of the way, guess again. We're at rock bottom and we aren't moving. If you're willing to work harder for less then apply to the district. I doubt that you'll last past Christmas break. Move on troll. We pay taxes too, clown.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:45.

Thank you for putting that troll back under the damn bridge.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:13.

Troll= Anyone who disagrees with the PFT union line.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 22:51.

Just out of curiosity, would you be willing to just give up 26% of your pay? It's one thing to ask for concessions, most of the PFT members are ready to make deep concessions, but 26%, Corbett, Nutter and the SRC and FORGET IT!

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:22.

Of course I'd be willing to give up 26% of my pay. I'm a moron and don't care about myself or my family. That's how teachers should be, too.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:15.

It's not 26%. It's 13% of salary and 13% of the COST of healthcare, roughly 2-3% for most teachers. So figure on 15-16% cut. A small sacrifice when you consider we have millions of people in this country who have been out of work for years. The last thing they need are higher taxes.

Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:25.

I don't think the writer of the comment you replied to was stating (or even thinks) that the poor should have their taxes increased. You are correct that the 13% of health care is on the cost of the PREMIUM, not salary. I am not all that opposed to that. I am married, with three kids. I should pay more out of pocket than a single employee with no kids.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:09.

I would be happy to make that pay cut if I didn't have to spend thousands of dollars (no joke) for pencils, erasers, paper, whiteboard markers, notebooks etc. for my class who literally could not even bring their own pencil, AND if I got a sane principal to work with!

Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:25.

Speaking of healthcare costs ..........

There are over 100 school districts in southwestern PA that banded together and formed a consortium to purchase healthcare insurance from Highmark a long time ago. I sat in a school board meeting. I know in my school district the teachers pay approximately $50 a MONTH (for a family plan) with the school district paying $1200 a MONTH for a total premium of $1250. In summary, the teachers pay $600 a YEAR in healthcare premiums.

I don't know what PFT teachers pay in premiums. Does anybody know? We have plenty of teachers here on this site. Just look at your paycheck stubs. I'd wager that you are paying around 5% to 10% towards your premium. The average in the private sector is 20% to 25%. It depends.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:18.

They pay $0 a year. That is a big issue of contention.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 15:18.

Actually that isn't true in the contract of 2009 there was a provision for teachers hired that school year and later to pay for a percentage of their healthcare costs if they chose a plan other than the keystone health plan east. However all teachers hired before that date continue to not have to contribute.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:43.

Why should the PFT give in to Zogby's edict???!!!! This is America. He can't strongarm us into the contract he wants for us. He has no say at all. This is beyond insane & highly unethical. He is a disgrace.

Submitted by Cheryl M. (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 06:35.

Why is the state using our children as if they were alligator bait? How dare you place the onus on PFT? This city administration deliberated waited until the last minute to find a solution to this problem. The state administration has committed $500 million for new and improved prisons, which warehouse a majority minority. How dare you? I am a teacher AND a taxpayer too! I work very hard for my money (and it's not much). When my students need, I SUPPLY it from my pocket. I work summers and weekends when necessary (no overtime or EC). Some of you taxpayers rallying against teachers need to STAY IN YOUR LANE until you have waked a mile in a teacher's shoes. Just like any job, in any industry you have some folks who don't belong but they manage to get the job done enough to keep it., you have a right to express your opinion, I respect that but your opinion is based on a fallacy. Review all the facts not just one.

Submitted by Annonym. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 19:18.

Gleason / Philadelphia School Dictatorship is at it again. What does he know about education? NOTHING. He and his Dictatorship are a sham. They are dividing the District by buying off schools / administrators.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 19:28.

Can we sue the state? Can we call DHHS and find out if they place any stipulations on their approval to give the money they were owed by the state to help Phladelphia Public Schools?

Submitted by anon (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 20:07.

f___ mark gleason and the horse he rode in on. state needs to pony up. sick of hearing about how the city should do this and the city should do that. philadelphia has too many other problems to deal with to be picking up the state's share of the tab. 8% sales tax now and what happens next year. call their bluff, shut it all down and show them what real chaos looks like.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 20:36.

Bravo !!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 20:14.

Make the state actual pay the feds back for the $45 million and then have the feds give the money to the school district. Thus taking out Zogby and Corbett like the voters will next year.

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 20:59.

So it's PFT vs. SCR vs. State Gov't vs. City Gov't.....a game of four ball....a big game of chicken. Hostage is a game of chicken...everybody has to get something they want....everybody has to give something that they want....when does this start to happen?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:37.

How in the world is it legal for Zogby to demand that a collective bargaining agreement be changed & then he'll release the money. I'm ready to strike. If Philadelphia wants to be the only school system that does not compensate for education & years of service I say good riddance.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 08:43.

It's total crap and The PFT better not give back a penny. It's a stunning, cynical, overt attempt to break the union, making teachers slaves to the whims of corporations. They're not even trying to disguise it anymore, an orchestrated "crisis" designed to kill freedom in Philly and other inner cities.

Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:27.

It does seem legal, or that it should be legal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 23:48.

I am so disappointed in this city as a whole. Now the educators are being villianized when its been us educators keeping the ship afloat thus far.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 01:54.

Anybody pretending that this could be happening anywhere but Philadelphia should stop right now. This wouldn't happen in Lower Merion of Cheltenham. This is happening because no one at the state and not that many at the city level value the children of Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 08:41.

How can Hite say the schools will open if given the $50 million? Don't teachers/staff have to be there? Interesting aspect of his ultimatum. Hite also is saying half days are possible. Again, does he mean staff will be there?

Is this a hint of a contract extension so that schools will definitely open on time? if not, how can he right now say that schools will open (if the $50 million is there)?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:00.

NO 3 month contract extension! For what? So the schools can open on time? Then the SDP has us by the *** because nobody will vote to strike in December, right before the holidays. I'm not advocating a strike, mind you. Under these particular circumstances, I'd rather work without a contract than under an extension (unless it's a one year extension.)
Let's start thinking through and discussing the merits of various options, so we don't get railroaded.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:06.

We won't know our options until Sept. 6.....

Submitted by SMH (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:32.

Sept 2nd is the union meeting.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:38.

Typo...my bad (one eye open while sipping coffee)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:38.

Typo...my bad (one eye open while sipping coffee)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:43.

I totally agree. A 3 month extension would be foolish.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:05.

I said this in another Public School Notebook blog and it got taken down.
The meeting is about voting on an extension!!! Jerry Jordan won't come out and say it!!! If you teachers are stupid enough this time to let him say the "yah's have it" when everyone knows the "nay's" were a lot louder at the last vote then your in trouble!!! That's what happened at the last meeting. Teachers run the union not JJ.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:58.

Let's start emailing Jordan today, and every day until we vote, that a 3 month extension is NOT an option that we support. Will someone please repost Jordan's email address? Let's be proactive and get this movement started!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 13:14.

1. just because the "nays" may have been LOUDER, doesn't mean there were more of them. That's why you do a paper ballot vote.

2. who in the hell has told you that we are voting on a 3 month extension? where is your information coming from (and please don't give me the B.S. answers of "Someone who doesn't want to be named" or "everyone" is saying so.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 16:57.

#1 the vote was fixed. All of Jordan's supporters ALWAYS sit in the very front--notice that?
#2 the inforamtion was from a buliding rep who heard it from one of the regional union higher-ups.
#3 people need to email Jordan and say no extension!!! who the hell is striking in the middle of Winter????? Either strike in September or don't open the schools until every school is properly staffed with counselors, librarians, nurses, music and art teachers, etc. $50 million is a BAND AID fix. They need a long term fix.
Finally--everyone remember this come election time and vote that fat a** out of the Governor's office!!!!!!

Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:10.

Riddle me this, the PFT gave over $10,000 to re-elect Clarke and he is trying to steal 1/2 the money Corbett and the Republican legislators allocated to us.

Why???

Why does the PFT give away my dues to put me out of a job???

Corbett is pond scum but he unlike Clarke and City Council have appropriates nothing, 0%, nada, etc

Why do we pay bribes to city politicians and then get laughed at by Darrel Clarke et al?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:20.

You shouldn't be paying bribes to any politicians at all. It's against the public interest. That's why collective bargaining by public sector workers should be outlawed entirely.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 10:55.

Troll Alert-----On a more serious note, It'll only be a countdown to calamity if the PFT caves in to this OBVIOUS BLACKMAIL, holding the kids hostage. The Families in Philly should ALL be outraged in a giant way by this shakedown. And Please realize that Mutter, Hite and The SRC are all up to their ears in it too. Hite was brought here to kill Public Ed. off and Mutter is expecting a job on The National Stage for his part in throwing his own people under the bus to make the rich richer.

Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:11.

Big Joe - The comment is not too far off base considering FDR warned us about public sector unions. Yes sir ye. Talk about blackmail. When I worked in the mill a long time ago, the "union leadership" cut their special deals with management.

At the end of the day, it will be the democratic party that will put the final knife in the back of unions. Go look at Chicago. For the record, my wife is SEIU. The Pennsylvania State Education Association has over 100 employees in their offices with 30+ of them making well over $100,000 a year. "Union leadership" has changed over the years with more and more of them with a don't care attitude about the "rank and file".

FDR was spot-on with his comments.

Submitted by tom-104 on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 13:55.

You have to make a distinction between the rank and file and the union leadership. Yes, most union leadership sold out to the 1% a long time ago. But if you don't make a distinction between them and the rank and file you are giving corporations and the banks an open road to taking us back to the 19th century.

We need to get democracy back in the unions and get a leadership that is dependent on the rank and file not to their political and corporate connections. And you comment about the Democratic Party is also right, but they are as beholden to the corporations and banks as much as the union leaders.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:45.

Tom 104--Ignore it and move on. Point counter point all day long. Up is down, down is up--just move on. In any case, I probably hold out a little more hope than you for the Dems to hang with us though I always reserve the right to be wrong. Either way, the membership better be 100% solid in all this and, of course, if Jerry caves, he should be replaced immediately though I don't pretend to know the protocol involved. Mutter and Hite playing saviors for the folks, what BULL !!!! Or as Mary Chestnut referencing Lincoln said, "What Stuff !!"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 09:35.

it's illegal to use dues for campaign contributions. members who choose to contribute to political activities also have a separate PAC section listed on their paystub. People have to opt in to this separately, so many members don't contribute to the PAC.
that said, there is no sense in the PFT continuing to support candidates who don't support education. Darrell Clarke is definitely among those unworthy of support. When properly organized, PFT has enough members to send a message at election time by simply not voting for those who have put us in this mess and actively speaking out against them. Any city politician who doesn't value public education is also underestimating its importance to the future of Philadelphia

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:16.

If Dr. Hite and Mayor Nutter are the "educational leaders" of this District, shouldn't they model the behavior they are asking from the PFT and give back 26% of their salaries? Let's see them set the tone for the new school year!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:38.

I am just asking what are the other unions saying? Are they willing to stand for their union counterparts? Correct me if I am wrong-and honestly I am just asking not criticizing- but if there is a job that say the capenters are picketing, then don't the other unions stand the line? So what are the heads of the other unions saying? Are they backing the teachers and Jerry Jordan..can they put pressure on the "powers that be"? I mean this is union busting at its finest

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:39.

I am just asking what are the other unions saying? Are they willing to stand for their union counterparts? Correct me if I am wrong-and honestly I am just asking not criticizing- but if there is a job that say the capenters are picketing, then don't the other unions stand the line? So what are the heads of the other unions saying? Are they backing the teachers and Jerry Jordan..can they put pressure on the "powers that be"? I mean this is union busting at its finest

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:39.

I am just asking what are the other unions saying? Are they willing to stand for their union counterparts? Correct me if I am wrong-and honestly I am just asking not criticizing- but if there is a job that say the capenters are picketing, then don't the other unions stand the line? So what are the heads of the other unions saying? Are they backing the teachers and Jerry Jordan..can they put pressure on the "powers that be"? I mean this is union busting at its finest

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:13.

The question should be did we stand for them. Not too long ago the maintenance union was going through the same thing. They went downtown and rallied they yelled, screamed, and ultimately had to give back in the form of pay cuts to keep their jobs. Now that it is our turn we expect this surge of support. All the unions should be unified all the time. We should be fighting for the loss of any jobs while fighting to improve conditions within our buildings. It seems like people are only really interested in unity the cuts come to your door.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:26.

Pay cuts? They still cost us $10 million a year more than contractors would.

They could be more productive or they could maintain their current work rules and bloated headcount. The SEIU chose the latter. Maximizing headcount is more important to the bosses (and the machine that enables them) than higher pay for members.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 11:43.

sorry my computer froze and I hit the save button three times-my mistake

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:01.

Oft needs to fill broad street with thousands of red shirts,just like we did with thousands of purple shirts.iam sure my union 32 bj district 1201 will back the pft,Jordon was there marching and protesting with us...lets stand togeather to beat a common foe...

Submitted by Consejera (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:02.

Emergency SRC meeting tomorrow. What is that about?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:09.

SRC Meeting

The School Reform Commission of the School District of Philadelphia will hold a special meeting to consider suspension of selected requirements of the Public School Code and applicable Regulations on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 3:00pm in the Second Floor Auditorium, Education Center, 440 N. Broad Street.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:05.

The PFT Attorneys will be handling it!!!!! Deborah Willig and Ralph Teti are excellent PFT Attorneys in an excellent law firm. They got top 5% of Attorneys in PA. I am sure they are onto it. This will be a battle in the courtroom!!! Go PFT!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:21.

What could they be looking to "suspend" in the school code?

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/HTM/1949/0/0014..HTM

Submitted by Della Wingo (not verified) on Fri, 08/16/2013 - 01:48.

genious, Edison H, 151 W. Luzerne St. , North-Central Planning Area, on January night was fabulous. My dear ones participated into thus closing program. Thanks for the post

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