3,800 Philadelphia school personnel face layoffs
PHILADELPHIA - June 6, 2011 (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia School District announced plans Monday to lay off 3,800 teaching and non-teaching staff members.
But legal action late Monday by the Philadelphia teachers' union stopped pink slips from being sent to 1,523 of the teachers.
The union argued that the move would violate its contract with teachers because the contract states that layoffs must come in order of seniority. A judge halted the issuance of pink slips pending a hearing on June 15th.
Meanwhile, the district said it plans to lay off another 1,501 non-teaching personnel.
"It's not easy, nobody likes these kinds of layoffs to happen," said Philadelphia Superintendent of Schools Arlene Ackerman.
Ackerman explained that pink slips were going to be issued for some 3,800 school personnel this week. That number includes roughly half of the central office, around 450 employees, along with approximately 2,200 teachers and teacher professionals, like nurses and reading specialists.
It's all in an effort to help bridge a $629 million budget deficit.
"The pain of whose losing staff is being pretty much generated across the district in even proportion," said Ackerman.
But late Monday afternoon, a judge granted a temporary restraining order to halt pink slips for 1,523 of those teachers. The President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers argues that the district violated procedures they were supposed to follow by exempting about 200 of their teachers at their Promise Academies from layoffs, with no regard for seniority.
"She has just unilaterally decided that they are going to get super-seniority whether they have been in the district for six months or one year over someone who may very well have been in the district who is a satisfactory teacher for a number of years," said P.F.T. President Jerry Jordan.
Around the city, fellow teachers are sounding off about the layoffs, worried what they will do to class size and student services. Even if your personal job is not in jeopardy, some teachers explain, that doesn't mean you're not affected. They say they hope jobs will be restored.
"These are people's jobs you are taking away, their livelihood. Hopefully something will come at the very last minute," said teacher Judith Jolly.
economy, school, education, teacher contract, pennsylvania, philadelphia, arlene ackerman, local/state
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