On Tues. Feb. 26 the state of Pennsylvania released their new contract proposals for public school teachers, to take effect when current contracts expire in August.
Like DC, the state will now become immersed in debates for the next several months over protecting teacher rights and teacher jobs.
It remains unclear whether the PA School Reform Commission has the power to impose terms on the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers (PFT), or whether the PFT can strike.
Today, Kristen Graham, blogger on www.philly.com reviewed the new teacher contract for PA that was published Tuesday.
In her piece titled, “No seniority? No water fountains? More on the contract,”
‘I’ve read the Philadelphia School District’s full list of demands from teachers, and it’s a doozy.
‘That’s on top of details reported last night and in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer.’
The details are as stunning for the PFT as the possible implications are for teachers in DC and for teachers nation-wide.
The financial changes include 13 percent pay cuts for those who make $55,000 and above, with lesser cuts for those who earn less. Employees who make under $25,000 would take a 5 percent cut.
There would also be benefit givebacks. Teachers and other PFT members who are paid over $55k would have to pay 13 percent toward their benefits, the same percentages as the pay cut.
Employees whose spouses or domestic partners are eligible for health coverage through their employer but take district insurance instead would pay a $70 surcharge.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund, which has long administered benefits, would cease to exist. The district would take over administration of benefits.
There would be no more sabbaticals for teachers who have worked 20 years. Termination pay for employees who leave or retire would be reduced.
There would be no more “steps,” graduated salary levels within categories of employees. There would be no more elevated pay categories for teachers with master’s degrees, master’s plus 30 credits, doctorates, and “senior career teachers,” those at the top of the pay scale.
There would be no more bonuses for those achieving prestigious National Board Certification, which costs teachers years of work and thousands of dollars to secure.
Layoffs and recalls would be subject to the superintendent’s discretion, and would only require seven days notice, much less than the current notification period.
On top of the longer work day, eight hours for teachers as opposed to the current seven hours, four minutes, teachers would also have to lead professional developments, attend meetings, perform bus, yard and lunch duty and be available for parent meetings outside work hours with no extra pay.
‘That’s a big change to their current contract language.
‘Teachers won’t be able to leave the building during the work day, without principal approval.
‘Nurses who are called in early or tend to emergencies during their lunch periods wouldn’t be given comp time.’
Graham then enumerated many other set-backs:
- Seniority would also be eliminated. All teacher vacancies would be filled by site selection, with the principal given final say in picking teachers. If there are vacancies on August 1, teachers could be transferred to fill them. The district would have final discretion over this.
- Schools with more than 1,000 students would no longer be required to have librarians or librarian assistants.
- Schools would no longer be required to have counselors, and counselors’ caseloads would no longer be capped.
- Teachers could be assigned to unlimited classes outside their subject area, and high school teachers could be assigned an extra class without pay. There would be no limit on amount of consecutive time taught in a school day.
- There would be no limit on class size. Current limits are 30 for the lower grades and 33 for the upper grades, large class sizes by any measure.
‘There are some major work rule changes, too — the one that jumped out at me was teachers no longer being able to use reasonable force to defend themselves.’
The district would no longer be required to provide copy machines, or even “a sufficient number of instructional materials and textbooks.”’
- Her district would no longer have to provide a teachers’ lounge, water fountains, parking facilities, desks for teachers, a designated room for speech and language staff and psychologists or “accommodation rooms” for students with special needs.
- Counselors would no longer be guaranteed to have rooms with privacy and confidentiality, a telephone, a locked filing cabinet or even a door.
Graham highlights that,
‘The district retains the right to subcontract, outsource or assign PFT bargaining unit jobs.’
‘Does that mean temp secretaries?
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Will this also happen to DCPS?
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