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Countdown, Day 14: Most noontime aides rehired; asst. principals to be recalled soon

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 26, 2013 05:43 PM

The School District has recalled 1,109 noontime aides -- rebranded "school safety officers" by their union -- which is just about all of those who had been laid off and had not chosen to leave or retire.

Altogether, according to a document made public Monday, District officials used the $50 million in additional funds promised by the city to restore 907 positions, including some counselors, teachers, and others. That came on top of 742 positions that had been restored with $33 million that Superintendent William Hite eked out of his existing budget, for a total of 1,649.

Among those being recalled are 45 assistant principals, although none of them have yet been notified, according to Robert McGrogan, head of their bargaining unit.

With the $33 million in savings, the District recalled 212 three-hour aides and 212 four-hour aides -- one for each school. With the $50 million, an additional 685 four-hour aides were recalled, largely due to school demands for more of them.

Still, some schools will have fewer aides than they had before. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said he did a spot check with certain high school principals and found that Martin Luther King High School would have 5 this year, compared to 12 last year; Northeast High would have 11, compared to 19, and South Philadelphia would have 6, compared to 9. Both Southern and King are receiving students from schools that were closed.

The union representing the aides, UNITE HERE!, issued a press release Friday saying that 1,157 of their members had been recalled. (A union spokesman said that they got a list from the District that had 1,157 names on it; the reason for the discrepancy could not be pinned down, but some of those members may have held other school-based positions.) The union had organized a fast by some of the workers, who were joined by parents and students. The fast had received national attention.

McGrogan said that he was getting worried that no assistant principals had yet been notified they were being recalled, saying it was getting perilously close to the opening of school. "Principals are calling me every day asking who will it be, when will I know," McGrogan said.

Schools with more than 850 students were able to hire one assistant principal; schools with more than 1,500 were able to hire two. Most smaller schools will not have an assistant principal.

Although the District gave no reason for the delay in recalling the assistant principals, the School Reform Commission suspended parts of the school code last week that allows it to recall employees not strictly according to seniority, meaning that it may take longer to determine who the individuals will be.

Gallard said that individual assistant principals will be notified Tuesday and Wednesday.

The total recalled includes 116 counselors -- not enough to cover every school.

Even with the recalled workers, Gallard said, "we want to emphasize that we have a continued need for more resources."


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 (34)

Submitted by Anonymously Anon (not verified) on August 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Has the district said what they plan on doing with the $133 million they hope to get in the form of givebacks from teachers?
Submitted by Dave M (not verified) on August 26, 2013 7:17 pm
You can rest assured we won't be giving anything back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:21 pm
I see it as likely that members will not vote to give anything back. I am not so sure that state will not attempt to take it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 21, 2014 8:37 am

Then the state had better be ready to send in replacements to teach. This job is hard enough at the wages they pay now. Anything less will lead to a strike if the state thinks we're going to bail them out of their financial stupidity.

Submitted by Teachin' (not verified) on August 27, 2013 9:05 am
Hope you're right, Dave. The zero COSI we've been dealt with over the last four years is enough of a give-back.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:03 pm
The $133 Million is already baked in the cake. The SRC will get it, but if for some reason they don't, then look for all those people to be laid off again plus many more.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:46 pm
That's just incorrect. They have rehired everyone without the $133 in concessions from the $83 million the city has promised. They want to spend $133 million they plan on getting from labor concessions. They would not have to lay off anyone they've recalled if they did not get that money. Still, schools are woefully understaffed. I wanted to know what their priorities were for that money.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:32 pm
No you are incorrect, not even half of those laid off have have been rehired, many counselors, APs and 500+ teachers still remain laid off.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:55 pm

Right. I did not disagree with that. I disagreed with the statement:

The $133 Million is already baked in the cake. The SRC will get it, but if for some reason they don't, then look for all those people to be laid off again plus many more

Those who have been rehired have not been rehired with the expected $133 million and therefore would not be laid off again. If there is not money from concessions or new money from the district from other sources then those who are still laid off will remain laid off.

Submitted by Laid Off Elementary (not verified) on August 26, 2013 6:44 pm
Any news about teachers being called back? I know that I worked at a smaller school but this waiting game is not good.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 7:21 pm
The size of the school you worked at shouldn't matter. The district is trying to rehiring ignoring seniority but they haven't made it clear what they actually plan on doing. that just makes the waiting game worse since the PFT will sue. This is going to be a mess and I wish you the best of luck during your wait.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:31 pm
My guess is once classes are leveled to a max of 33 students a good number will be called back. In June my high school's roster chair said many classes had over 40 students in each.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:37 pm
This means 6 weeks of "stacked" classes. In high schools, there will be huge turmoil and a loss of 6 weeks of school. This is part of Hite/Khin/Phila. School Partnership / Broad Fd. "churn" or "crush and destroy" policies. They will blame the PFT but this fits into their plan. Extremely unsettling and disgusting.
Submitted by The Fundraising Coach (not verified) on August 26, 2013 11:40 pm
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Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:48 pm
This means 6 weeks of "stacked" classes. In high schools, there will be huge turmoil and a loss of 6 weeks of school. This is part of Hite/Khin/Phila. School Partnership / Broad Fd. "churn" or "crush and destroy" policies. They will blame the PFT but this fits into their plan. Extremely unsettling and disgusting.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 7:18 pm
"District spokesman Fernando Gallard said he did a spot check with certain high school principals and found..." Is it possible that the school district is not communicating with its chief spokesperson? Why would he need to check with the schools to see what the district has done? It's even worse than it appears.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:19 pm
Of course he has to check with the schools. Do you think anyone at 440 is on the ball that are being paid a 6 digit salary?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 8:45 pm
Not all top administration are bad, nor is anyone bad just because they make a lot of money and are probably overpaid.
Submitted by Christina Puntel (not verified) on August 26, 2013 9:12 pm
Rehired at the same schools? It is a huge deal to fire noon time aids who know students and their families, especially in schools that have high teacher turn over. Especially in any school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 10:08 pm
What about the Secretary 3's.? They have heard nothing except they don't plan on bringing them back. They called some secretary 1's back and they replaced the 3's. Also some of the smaller schools out there who do not qualify for Counselors or Asst. Principles have Emotional Support Classrooms and Autistic Classrooms. These schools need Counselors no matter what the numbers are, because this is not safe. I don't know how they can say the schools will be safe.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 12:38 am
Safe has always been relative in Philadelphia schools...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 26, 2013 11:29 pm
It's hard enough to keep them safe with all staff intact and not layoffs and now they think being grossly understaffed will be adequate. Lawsuits just waiting to happen for negligence. Someone will get hurt, kidnapped (yes, it happened last year),etc. and no adult around to render help. All stakeholders ought to be calling and emailing Hite and the SRC cronies and demand appropriate staffing, and other resources. Look for hidden money under the desks (not mattress) at 440, I am $ure you will find plenty.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 8:53 am
Please name someone at 440 that makes 6 digits and knows what they are doing? Case closed. If the did, we wouldn't be in this position now would we?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 9:23 am
Any word on SSA's being recalled?
Submitted by woman (not verified) on August 30, 2013 12:44 am
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 5:41 pm
Our Promise Academy and two others I know of were told today the extra hour has been eliminated. I wonder how parents will handle this information so close to the beginning of the school year.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 6:00 pm
That is rather late notice, but if there is no extra hour, they already got rid of summer and Saturday school, how can they justify bonuses in this financial situation?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 7:44 pm
There would be no bonuses.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 27, 2013 7:56 pm
Right, we heard the same thing. Compensation would be the same as any other school. There may still be extra resources for students. (And tons of teacher absences since teachers came to these difficult schools for the money! And, these schools cannot get subs so classes are split and students given to other teachers.)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 1:28 am
I am wondering if any CRL's will be called back? Who will be handling the truancy court referrals and going to the homes of the students who do not come to school? We play an important roll in the schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:13 am
Who are the 45/500 teachers called back? Where did that number come from? Have they been notified? How were they chosen?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:10 pm
Let's remember that noon time aides are not "safety people," those were NTA's (non teaching assistants). Noontime aides also don't work with childlren like SSA's and probably receive no benefits (hence they are relatively cheap to rehire). FYI it takes very little time to get to "know the kids," ask any new teacher or para.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:39 pm
What is a CRL Not familiar with that posiition.
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