August 16 — 2:49 pm, 2011

District, PFT settle Promise Academies layoff issue

UPDATE: District statement

Promise Academy teachers will not be protected from layoffs, according to a statement from the the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that said the union and District had "arrived at a settlement" of an arbitration on the matter.

The District will move forward with layoffs according to seniority, the statement said. The settlement means that 174 Promise Academy teachers with lesser seniority will be laid off and teachers who had been laid off will be called back.

"Unfortunately, it is what it is," said a newly laid off teacher, who wished not to be identified. "I’m not sure why I expected an email from the District…. instead I get my information from the Notebook and Kristen Graham." The teacher said she hopes to find another teaching job and will start applying to charter schools in the area.

The District asked the School Reform Commission to approve an exemption for Promise Academy teachers from layoffs. At Promise Academies a majority of the faculty was replaced and most of the new teachers were younger and less experienced

The PFT statement says that while the District and PFT discussed working conditions for teachers in "turnaround" schools during contract negotiations, they had not discussed "exempting teachers in those schools from layoffs."

The statement says that "as a result of an arbitrary decision by the superintendent to violate the contract," the reassignment and hiring process "has been in limbo all summer."

The case was sent to arbitration in June. Last week the PFT and District reached an agreement on staffing the eight schools that were slated to become Promise Academies this fall, but no longer will due to the budget deficit.

The District issued a statement:

“The PFT and SDP have agreed to withdraw the Promise Academy seniority layoff issue from arbitration. Teachers assigned to Promise Academies will be reassigned based on their seniority.”

This is a developing story.

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