Menu
Please Join Today!
view counter

Countdown, Day 12: Jordan offers one-year pay freeze, benefit changes

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 28, 2013 01:37 PM
Photo: Harvey Finkle

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, shown near City Hall during a mass student walkout on May 17.

[Updated, 3:30 p.m. with additional quotes from Charles Zogby]

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce that the union is willing to forgo a salary increase -- at least for one year -- and "make changes to our health care and benefits" in order to find savings that will allow positions to be restored to the schools.

"We know the current staffing levels cannot assure parents, students and employees that schools will be safe and more than just functional," Jordan said. He said he was particularly upset about split grades, the lack of counselors and libraries in every school, and enough support personnel and secretaries.

He didn't attach any dollar amounts to the benefits changes, and the School District immediately issued a statement saying that the offer "falls well short" of the $103 million in savings that it wants from the PFT. 

"We clearly have a ways to go on both economics as well as on important educational reforms that will provide the type of learning environments our children deserve," the District statement said.

Gallard declined to address the question of whether this offer was enough to start restoring some additional personnel immediately, as Jordan said he hoped would happen and as advocacy groups have been demanding.

Jordan is holding a membership meeting Monday night. Asked if there was a possibility of a strike vote, he said, "That is not my intention."

The back-and-forth between the union and the District is an unprecedented public airing of bargaining positions betweeen the two parties before the contract is settled. Asked about this, Jordan said, "These are unprecedented circumstances we are in."

Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby told NewsWorks that Jordan's statement is not enough to shake loose the $45 million that the state has appropriated but is withholding pending acceptable union concessions.

Later, he told the Notebook: "As I said before, we’d be looking for substantial progress to be made toward the SRC's savings and reform goals. That’s still to me the formula. I don’t know exactly what that is or what combination of savings and reforms that may be, that's for the parties to negotiate. But we are looking for substantial steps toward meeting those goals."

Most PFT members still don't contribute to their health care premiums, but as a result of provisions in the current contract, some will start contributing either 3 or 5 percent, depending on their health plan and hire date. 

In addition to savings from health benefits, the District is seeking pay cuts ranging from 5 to 13 percent. Jordan said that as far as he was concerned, pay cuts were not an option, but everything else regarding wages and benefits was on the table.

District officials have said that pay cuts are necessary for savings to close its $304 million gap and that a freeze won't do it. Neither side has offered figures on how much could be saved if union members contributed 10 percent or more to their health care costs, as some other local districts do.

By a pay freeze, Jordan was not advocating a freeze in the so-called "steps," in which teachers get automatic raises based on length of service and degrees attained.

Instead, he was saying the PFT would not ask for an across-the-boad percentage increase. The last PFT increase was 3 percent in January 2012.

PFT members now get automatic step increases each year up to year 10, and additional increments for master's degrees, master's plus 30 credits, master's plus 60 credits (the so-called senior career teacher), and a doctorate. The Philadelphia step system tops out after 10 years of experience, while in many other districts in the area they continue longer.

In the negotiations, the District wants to get rid of steps entirely and stop paying teachers for accruing time and degrees. In an interview on Tuesday, Hite reiterated that research indicates that these advanced degrees do not correlate with higher student achievement.

"An advanced degree or an additional degree doesn't create any substantial difference, creates no difference whatsoever," he said. Hite added that he didn't think his own doctorate studies made him a better teacher.

"I improved my craft talking to other teachers, reviewing data, analyzing student work. ... That was more helpful than what I learned in ... higher education," he said.

Almost all unionized school districts in the country, however, reward teachers based on the step system.

The School Reform Commission said that it wants to replace it with one in which teachers get raises based on performance, although it hasn't specified what that kind of system would look like.  Elements of performance pay have been implemented in some unionized districts, but rarely by supplanting the dominant salary structure. "Merit" pay is used in many charter schools.

Hite said in the interview that he hoped such a performance pay system could be worked out with the union leadership. Asked if he was willing to engage in such a discussion, Jordan said, "Yes."

At the press conference, Jordan continued to call out Gov. Corbett for underfunding schools and Mayor Nutter for failing to stand up for him and demand more revenue.

"What we know is that we need to quickly find a way to restore those services to kids," Jordan said. "We just cannot continue to inch along and think we are going to be prepared to have staff and buildings by Sept. 9."

Besides the PFT, the District is negotiating with three other unions -- representing principals, school police, and cafeteria workers and noontime aides -- and is looking for an additional total of $30 million in savings from them.


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.

Click Here
view counter

Comments (290)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 1:50 pm
"Jerry Jordan held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce that the union is willing to forgo a salary increase -- at least for one year -- and "make changes to our health care and benefits" in order to find savings that will allow positions to be restored to the schools." Jerry, did you ask me? BECAUSE I AM THE UNION. And I am not willing to do this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:38 pm
it is a recommendation on the table, not a proposal. PFT members must vote on Monday night before any negotiate compromise is agreed to.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:54 pm
oh the same membership meetings where it is a Yea/Nay vote and the vote is always Yea for whatever has already been decided
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 10:28 am
There is always a paper vote!
Submitted by classroom cowboy (not verified) on September 1, 2013 8:42 am
I remember the last time there was a "paper' vote and KYW announced the results as members were walking out of the auditorium as the "vote" was taking place at the door. We got the "promise academy, promise to screw half the teachers in those schools" agreement in that one. The elementary teachers were ecstatic and dissenting voices were silenced.
Submitted by classroom cowboy (not verified) on September 1, 2013 8:56 am
I remember the last time there was a "paper' vote and KYW announced the results as members were walking out of the auditorium as the "vote" was taking place at the door. We got the "promise academy, promise to screw half the teachers in those schools" agreement in that one. The elementary teachers were ecstatic and dissenting voices were silenced.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 2:18 pm
Really? I need to explain this to you, allegedly a teacher and parent. OK, here goes. Just because someone SHOUTS louder than some one else, doesn't mean they are right. Get it? In a room full of students or teachers, just because one group SHOUTS louder than another group, doesn't mean they are right or in the majority. That is why a paper ballot vote is taken and is the official vote count. Some poor person sitting next to you may not want to risk you "up in their face" by voice voting against you, so they remain quiet and just cast their paper ballot. SCREAMING louder does not make you right or in the majority, that's just common sense that every first year teacher or parent can tell you. The paper ballot is the key and official vote. This insures that everyone can vote their conscience and not out of fear of people like you, who cannot accept that any other belief, other than your own, is correct.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:11 pm
The only way to get a fair sense of the PFT membership is to provide the membership with written proposals within a day of the meeting via email. The membership needs the time to ingest the the contract that is being voted on. The vote needs to be via written ballots with a representative group of witnesses present during the counting. This would result in a fair understanding of how the membership would like to proceed. The only hope for the current leadership of the union to retain their positions is to have the trust of their members. This must happen and this week will indicate whether the union wants to continue in a position of leadership.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 5:12 pm
Can we afford to take a chance on this? There's a lot at stake here, and using this as a test of whether the leadership can be trusted is very troubling to me.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 10:38 pm
Do you all recall that the non repped people are only paying 5% for benefits and took pay cuts between 3-5%? Explain why the teachers who make much less are being asked for soooo much???
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:55 pm
Something doesn't seem right here. Could be a way to galvanize the Membership into a frenzy strike vote. Think about it. OR it could be complicity though I 'm not ready to go there yet. And I'm hardcore.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 11:05 am
I hate to say this....in communicating with teachers/colleagues over the past two weeks, many are NOT going on Monday night. I can say there is a mix of some veteran teachers as well as teachers who have less than five years in the district who have told me they aren't going. The teachers who have less than five years in didn't even know there was a meeting! Galvanized would be nice, but I'm getting the vibes there are a good number of PFT members that aren't going to show up. I'm PFT first but have encountered way too many teachers in recent years who didn't really know what was in the contract that's about to expire, so they (in my opinion) could care less about what's to come with a new contract, and yes, those teachers happen to be the teachers with less than five years in the system.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 30, 2013 11:19 am
So we need to be reaching out to our colleagues and encouraging as many of them to go as possible. This is no time to stand on the sidelines and be apathetic. I'm facing a 5% pay cut that I cannot afford. I don't want to bring the stress of worrying about paying my bills with me to schools. I want to do the best for the students with whom I work. I won't be able to do that if I'm worried all the time about money. We need to STAND UP!!! It's not just for us, it's for our students! EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 5:50 pm
I remember the days of "phone chains" -- waiting to get a phone call. My colleagues have texted and emailed with each other. I'm assuming building reps have sent reminder emails, too. If I had the money to hire one of those airplanes that flies along the Jersey beaches, I'd have one with a banner that says "PFT First -- Be there on Sept. 2!" (or something like that).
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:52 pm
If anybody really wanted to do the right thing for children at this point -- the SRC would agree to, or a court would Order this: (1) One year extension of the contract "as is." (2) A cost of living increase for all employees. (3) A promise among all parties to "meet and discuss" in "good faith" all issues which would enhance teaching and learning in a reasonable and practical way and advance the profession of education. (4) All laid off employees return to work at their last school of employment. Those whose school has closed should report to 440 until disposition. (5) And, of course, a no reprisal clause. (6) All students would begin school on time. (I am not an employee of the district, state, or city. I just care about schoolchildren, and their school community. I am just an advocate for "best practices" in leadership and school governance.)
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 5:18 pm
Right on, Rich. I'm not asking for a raise, just a cost of living increase. I make a pretty low salary and cannot afford a 5% paycut. I have worked for the District for less than a year, and I DO contribute 5% toward my health care. I think it's reasonable for ALL PFT members to contribute 5% to their healthcare. I don't see this as a concession, but making a level playing field for all PFT members so that it's not just newer ones who contribute to their health insurance. EGS
Submitted by Mitch Schwartz (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:58 pm
PFT members have contributed to their health care coverage for the last twenty years. Every time we accepted a contract which provided one or two percent raises that did not keep up with the cost of living, we were promised that our health care costs would not go up. The mayor and the governor and their lackey, the superintendent, say that the union must step up, not because we caused the budget problem, but because we are in a position to help. Fine. Let’s look around at who else is involved. Independence Blue Cross has made a nice profit by providing health care, at a premium price, to School District employees. Let’s ask that corporation to “step up” and grant PFT members special lower rates for their services instead of asking the individuals who work with our city’s children to lower their rates for their services.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 7:12 am
Those employees who choose to have Personal Choice instead of the HMO already contribute toward their healthcare. Whoever keeps telling the media that we ALL pay nothing toward our healthcare is a liar. The media should gets the facts STRAIGHT before printing this garbage. The Inquirer is good for printing things that are untrue!!! The public has caught on.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 29, 2013 7:57 am
We also have high co-pays. Others go to the doctor and pay $7 - $10 while we pay $20 - $30. I assume they'll want even more in co-pays which is an increase in health care costs. Ideally, we'll have national health care some day but I won't hold my breath.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:40 pm
Hey Rich: I would agree with your plan, except that the School District has already shown on multiple occasions, including two weeks ago when they suspended parts of the school code, that they can not be trusted to bargain in "good faith.' We all also know that there WOULD be reprisals. The teachers have been back into a corner and have basically two options left to us at this point. Accept the total dismantling of our Union, along with any voice, rights or job protections in our schools and steep salary cuts OR stand and fight. No teacher I know likes the position we are in and have tried our best to avoid this, but this is where the district, city and state have forced us.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 29, 2013 5:26 pm
I would be hard pressed to put forth any argument against what you have just said so well. Sometimes in life we all have to stand and fight. Just do it wisely and courageously and know that you hold the dignity and integrity of our Great profession in your hands. They are attacking your family, your livelihood, and you as a teacher personally. That is so sad to watch and so unnecessary. I put forth those ideas above to just get a sensible course of conduct out there for people to see. Hopefully, if we can get enough people to speak in voices of reason, someone in power may just hear and do what is right for the "common good" of our community and the schoolchildren of Philadelphia. But as you say, they are acting like bullies and they want to pick a fight. This crisis is intentionally created and is hysteria by design.
Submitted by Sharon Newman Ehrlich (not verified) on August 29, 2013 5:12 pm
I agree with what you have said... This makes sense!!! Thanks for the comment. BTW - Research demonstrates that Teachers who KNOW CONTENT bring up Achievement in students. Like I have said before NO ONE CARES ABOUT KIDS!!!! TEACHERS OR THE COMMUNITY!! ONLY THE MIGHTY DOLLAR$$$$$$$ Very sad
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:33 pm
I have two masters in two disciplines that I teach. Writing a thesis for each degree, as well as course work, has made me a better teacher. I have the content / discipline knowledge and "way of thinking" that enables me to make the content more accessible and relevant. I also acquired the reading/ writing skills necessary to prepare students for college. Hite may not have learned much in his education courses but that is no reason to trash all higher education.
Submitted by Beth (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:24 pm
If continued education does not matter to the superintendent than why does the state require Act 48 credits. Nothing makes sense anymore!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:02 pm
Where is CASA? What about CASA laid of emplyees after giving to the Dist? Will all of them called back? Sad....Hite let his own employees down after CASA members supported him...
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:06 pm
AND, AGAIN: Jerry, did you ask me? BECAUSE I AM THE UNION. And I am not willing to do this.
Submitted by PFTProud (not verified) on August 29, 2013 10:19 pm
What are you willing to do? There's NO MONEY! They can't pay us. Would you rather see your school suffer from more personnel cuts? I don't know what the answer is. But we have to be willing to compromise and so does the district. I'm curious though, why didn't they tell the city or state that what they offered wasn't enough? Just us. It's disgusting what they think of us. I wish I could just talk to Dr. HIte and ask him why he hates teachers.
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:53 am
There is PLENTY of money. Read some of the other Notebook articles, and Inquirer, NYTimes etc. It's being spent on misguided priorities. Hunfreds of millions over past 10 years on prisons, hundreds of millions on corporate tax credits (Comcast alone with 10yr + gift), mismanaged City, Governor just taking away a BILLION, for random other 'higher priorities'. PLENTY of money. While the issue is political choice, I will be an advocate for Education all day, that's what I will do. Meanwhile I will not accept their public demeaning of the profession and cutting our familes' personal budgets.
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:06 am
A quick skim of final section "The money is there" gives some more (political) perspective. http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/component/flexicontent/item/58767-phi... This is about politics and free choice to choke public education. It is NOT about the children, it is NOT about Budgets, it is NOT even about where to find money. It is about politics. As long as we beat each other up over their smoke screens, we lose. If we stand together we have a voice and a chance
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:38 am
There is money. The people holding onto it don't care about you or the children of Philadelphia. They care more about their own personal agenda. They are abnegating their responsibility to fund public education. And they must be stopped. Otherwise, the principles that this country was founded upon stand for nothing.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 30, 2013 12:22 pm
There is money. Mastery is operating 3 new schools this year: Mastery Prep MS, Thomas ES, and Pastorius ES (Renaissance School). The money is there, but the District and Commonwealth don't want to spend it on District-run schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 7:16 pm
I don't know about everyone but I have worked hard for my education and have loans to pay back in addition to taking care of my family, I am not willing to give up steps and pay increases for more education. I thought we were to be highly qualified... I want to know what is on the table, how much to we have to pay into medical? don't they realize we are the lowest paid teachers in the state? the medical helped balance all of that out. I just don't like how everything gets dumped on teachers and supportive staff. Is Dr. Hite taking a pay cut? if we have to and those at 440 had to, why not Dr. Hite? Lead by example.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:53 pm
I am a teacher and I am for railing against 440 but in the effort of fairness Hite and his team did announce they were take 10% cuts. Not saying it is the same relative to us, but it answers ur question about if he and his team are taking any cuts. http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130816_SRC_unanimously_passes_s...
Submitted by SMH (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:14 pm
Yeah, after giving 40% pay increases. They should be taking a lot more than that.
Submitted by Rita (not verified) on August 28, 2013 9:16 pm
Hello! You got that right. So, if my math is correct, they received a 23% increase - where is the shared sacrifice? Oh yeah, it's not there.
Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:42 pm
We have 15,000 members in the PFT. 1,500 showed up at the rally last week. A union leader is only as good as his/her membership. If 10,000 people showed up, the story would have been different. We would have filled Broad st. from 440 to City Hall. THAT is a force to be reckoned with. I'm not an apologist for the union, but Jerry is not the messiah. He's not the "daddy" who is going to deliver for all those who stayed at home last week.. There have been multiple rallies over the last two years which have been shamefully sparsely attended. AS for Jerry being an inspiration, I would think losing your job or taking a substantial pay cut would be impetus enough to show up.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 9:53 pm
Eileen, I was there last week, and while I was pleased with the turnout compared to other events, you are right, the turnout wasn't enough. You wrote that "I would think losing your job or taking a substantial pay cut would be impetus enough to show up." I was thinking the exact same thing!!! EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:50 am
If you seriously think that having 10,000 people show up would have made a difference in any outcome, you are delusional. I was at the SRC meeting. It was clear that the outcome was already written in stone before the meeting began. Any decent human being who heard the passionate speeches by parents and teachers would have been swayed by them. The SRC vote was decided long before the meeting. Funding to the district is being withheld by people who don't care. It doesn't matter to them how many people show up at a rally. We are not asking that Jerry be a messiah. We are asking that he when he talks about what the union is willing to do, that he makes sure he ASKS the union first. We are asking that when the membership votes on Monday, that the vote is fairly counted. These are major concerns.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 9:04 pm
Teachers: If you know me, you know my family's history as longstanding members of this union and my love for the job we do each and every day for the kids of Philadelphia. With that said, I beg of you to stop fighting in such a public forum. Solidarity won us these rights. Don't let division cause us to lose them!!!!! See you ALL on MONDAY in RED!!!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 10:03 pm
How do you expect anyone to know you? You're anonymous! Twit.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 7:09 am
Let's NOT fight in public. Save it for our meeting on Sept. 2.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 2:02 pm
SRC stands for sad -revolting-clever. Last time I checked....responsible parties stealing from others go to JAIL! How dare they steal money from the employees due to their HORRIBLE management,
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:41 am
And Again: Jerry, did you ask me? BECAUSE I AM THE UNION. And I am not willing to do this. AT LEAST I USED TO THINK I WAS THE UNION. At least I used to think Jerry spoke for US, THE UNION
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:05 am
AND AGAIN: Jerry, did you ask me? BECAUSE I AM THE UNION. And I am not willing to do this. AT LEAST I USED TO THINK I WAS THE UNION. At least I used to think Jerry spoke for US, THE UNION
Submitted by Union (not verified) on August 30, 2013 12:22 pm
I need you to clarify: Are you the union?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 9:43 am
Jordan is no more a mind reader than anyone else. Actually, he asked your building rep what the members in your building were thinking and talking about. Have you communicated your ideas/wishes to him/her?
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 4:07 pm
We have had no Union "rep" for a full school year) -- out on medical leave . .
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 4:53 pm
We have had no Union "rep" (for a full school year) -- out on medical leave . . Then pushed out to a new school for charter converrsion last June. New building rep has not queried anyone that I know of.
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 4:27 pm
More than that, no Union rep for a full year (No Union action that I'm aware of). Then school converted to charter in June. Union rep at new building has my email and we've met. No survey of teachers that I know of at all at either school . . .
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:27 pm
Ours just doesn't bother to communicate. Nothing all summer.
Submitted by confused (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:22 pm
Did the union ever file that injunction? If the school district was negotiating in bad faith, why did the PFT continue negotiating? Why did Jerry break with what he has said over the years and give away his hand without hearing from his members? Why did Jerry agree before he got assurances that this would be enough for the state to release the $45 million? Why did he concede before Hite assured him that it would be enough? Will Jerry really listen to the members at the Monday meeting or will he call an early vote? Will he declare it ratified on a voice vote that is too hard to really here? When is the next PFT election?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:59 pm
Precisely. So do you really think he was serious about this "offer?" It's PR for the union. He knew they'd reject it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:40 am
I asked him this question personally. He said that there will be a ballot and that votes would be counted. I hope he sticks to his word, because we need to have faith in our union. I've been doing all that I can all summer, Jerry - going to rallies, working the phone bank and pounding the pavement for the pft. If WE ARE THE UNION, we deserve a fair vote. We deserve a process with integrity. Please keep your word, Jerry. We are counting on you to do the right thing.
Submitted by ConcernedRoxParent (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:54 pm
Already announced that no strike vote was going to be taken, according to philly.com article http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130829_Union__teachers_should_f... I think 3 to 5% payment to healthcare is fair (and my husband is a teacher so I will paying it too).
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:50 pm
Teacher here...fair to whom? A pay freeze and the requirement to pay more for my healthcare is a PAY CUT this year! Are they going to give me paper? Supplies? A printer for all the weekly and daily lesson plans, student hand-outs, signs etc. Doubt it. Look for the Independent Team next PFT election, we'll wrest control of this union back to REAL teachers. 15 years ago I took a 25k pay cut to leave the field of research and development and become a Philly teacher. Now they want me to report to work next week for LESS wages than the year before? Ok, I will...but you will get what you pay for! I call on all teachers to cease writing recommendations, cease spending more than the $100 allotment. Cease any and all activity that is NOT fully funded by our employer!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 7:57 am
Teacher here...you left the field of research and development to become a teacher for the pay? You obviously did not do your research. Teachers do what we do because of our dedication to our students...don't forget they are the reason we are fighting for decent working conditions. I have been teaching for 18 years and the $100. allotment is a drop in the bucket to what I spend out of pocket for students. If teachers do as you suggest and cease any and all activities not funded by the district, then we should just all stay home!
Submitted by Teachin' (not verified) on August 29, 2013 8:28 am
Don't cease writing recommendations. That's not fair to the students. I agree with much of the rest of what you say. We must never take out injustice inflicted upon us on the students.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 9:30 am
I'm okay with this too...the healthcare. I think it had to be done. But I'm concerned about working conditions. Jerry said, "everything is on the table." What does that mean?
Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:41 pm
mr. hite, do you realize how ridiculous your statements on higher education not mattering make you sound? how about high school degrees, do they create any substantial difference? next you'll be advocating that students drop out because education is irrelevant to improving skills. you seriously need to stop getting your data and talking points from gleason and start thinking on your own. on that statement alone, people should be calling on you to resign your position. your words show that you are in a bit over your head here. "An advanced degree or an additional degree doesn't create any substantial difference, creates no difference whatsoever," he said. Hite aid that he didn't think his own doctorate studies made him a better teacher. "I improved my craft talking to other teachers, reviewing data, analyzing student work ... that was more helpful than what I learned in ... higher education," he aid.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:28 pm
Anon, Exactly! I guess further education only stops mattering when you have to compensate people for it!
Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:27 pm
I particularly like that last line of the quote from Hite. He's never "improved his craft" as a teacher in that way or any other, since he's never been a teacher. All of his experience has been as an administrator. His degrees are all in educational leadership (even his bachelor's) and he hasn't even been in a school as an administrator since the late 1990s. Since then he's been in district administration and not exactly in contact with teachers or student work. So I think we can all agree with him that his doctorate in educational leadership did not, in fact, make him a better teacher. Maybe he'll be willing to drop the "Dr." if he thinks it so unimportant. The man can't even make a simple statement without including obvious exaggerations and implied lies in the process. How are we ever going to have any negotiations with him in good faith? How can we trust him not to go back to the SRC and simply change whatever is agreed upon afterwards by using Act 46? This is not someone we should ever turn our backs on for a second.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 5:49 pm
Stewart, Dr. Hite WAS a teacher. If I recall correctly, he was a teacher for like 5 years. But he has spent most of his time as an administrator. Dr. Hite likes to play his "teacher card" when it's convenient for him, but most of the time, he shows that he doesn't care about teachers enough to treat them like professionals and compensate them fairly. He's rather spend money on a cyber school, allow more Renaissance charter schools, even though they cost extra money, and hire expensive people to work at 440. He's a tool and a fraud. EGS
Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on August 28, 2013 10:28 pm
Funny how he seem to leave that out of his bio whenever it appears in public. I could find no mention of his ever having taught, just of his administrative work. So, if he did, (given the biographical details I did find on him) then we must be talking about the late 1980s at best. And, as I pointed out, his own official bio says that his bachelor's and both graduate degrees are in educational leadership, so I can see that that would be a bit less than useful as a teacher rather than an administrator.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 7:17 pm
Really... Dr. Hite, why do we have National Board Certifcation then????????
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:32 pm
I'm leaving with my national board certification. The SDP has no intention of honoring ANYTHING in our contract. Only a fool would work under these circumstances. To hell with the 60 day notice. No one gave me a 60 day notice that our contract would be circumvented. I am at Step 11 this year and suppose to receive a $7,500 bonus as a national board certified teacher. I'm not holding my breath on either. The good news is that every other school district in America will recognize my certification & compensate me accordingly. No Dr. Hite I didn't start teaching to become rich but I also didnt start to teaching to live in poverty.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 9:57 pm
PFT told me we are not getting our bonuses or prep payback because the district cannot afford it! Wtf?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Prep payback is in the 8/30 pay check.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:19 pm
But not our bonuses.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:36 pm
Correct. I emailed the person that handles the bonuses and they said they had not been told to release the bonus money.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 4:35 pm
What bonuses you talking about? The teachers that get bonuses -why isn't that information listed in the CBA?
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 29, 2013 4:24 pm
Special education, math, Spanish and chemistry/physics teachers have received a bonus for years because of "limited certifications."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:58 pm
Point of clarification, only Special Education Teachers who teach in the Emotional Support classrooms received bonuses in the past. Not sure that those teachers will receive a bonus this year.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 31, 2013 9:06 am
Just so people know, I was told yesterday that the $100 that we get is a goner. Keep checking for sales on copy paper because we might not get any paper.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 31, 2013 9:19 am
I'm not promoting one copy store over another but Staples has had a coupon all summer for $22 for a box (10 reams). I assume you can get the coupon by signing up on line. Currently has a coupon for $10 (get $12 back). I've bought 5 cases so I'm set for the year. Yes, I've spent $100 on copy paper - ridiculous. (Are you reading this Dr. Hite - or should I write Mr. Hite since degrees don't matter... How much copy paper have you bought this summer Mr. Hite? What about pencils, glue sticks, registration for a web site, etc, etc, etc, What are you sacrificing for "the children?")
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 4:46 pm
Who at PFT told you we weren't getting prep payback? I contacted payroll 2 weeks ago and they said Aug. 30th check. They better pay it, or file a complaint. It's the law. Money already owed. The Act provides that every employer shall pay all wages, other than fringe benefits and wage supplements, due his/her employees on regularly scheduled paydays designated in advance by the employer. He/she shall pay in cash or by bank check. The employer must notifiy each employee at the time of hiring of the following: (1) time and place of payment; (2) rate of pay; and (3) amount of any fringe benefits or wage supplements to be paid to the employee, a third party, or a fund for the benefit of the employee. All men, women and minors employed within Pennsylvania (by an employer) are protected by the Wage Payment and Collection Law (Act No. 329 of July 14, 1961). Complaint form link below: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=622638&mode=2
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:36 pm
I know how crazy this sounds, I got mine but husband did not get his. We are already fighting this.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 9:28 pm
Good luck finding a job as a teacher elsewhere in the Philadelphia area! The job market is saturated. There is steep competition for jobs in the suburban districts. Many charters are hiring, but the pay isn't as good, there's no tenure. Some are good places to work, others are not. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 10:49 pm
Being a national board certified teacher means that I can go anyplace. Also, don't make the assumption that I want to flee to the lofty suburbs. I'm an educator committed to serving the underserved be it in Camden, Chester, Darby etc. As for the job market being saturated you're wrong. I sent my resume to 3 districts last Thursday and received responses from all three. Please don't perpetuate the hype and hysteria propoganda that if you leave the SDP you won't be able to find a job. That's all bs. There are plenty of jobs available in the Philadelphia region. Do not foolishly suggest people remain complacent and stay stuck in a disastrous situation. A 13% pay cut is unacceptable aligned with longer hours and paying into healthcare. Do you actually think that the SDP is your best bet EGS? My suggestion to you is to start letting your Master's work for you. The SDP is the bottom of the barrel and sinking further each day. Look at the jobs page on the notebook & go to PA Reap and idealist.org & then tell me there are no available educator jobs. There are plenty and Camden County City Schools is heavily recruiting and offering great compensation packages with steps and compensation for education and multiple certifications. Also NJ offers full reciprocity for PA certificates. The truth is we're all in this for the kids but our kids need to eat too. Just as an FYI- Upper Darby, William Penn, Southeast Delco, Chester Upland, Coatesville, Camden, Red Clay. They are all looking for full time certified educators. The jobs are there just open your eyes and clear them of SDP dust.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 1:49 pm
You may get the first call and first interview, but after that the job will be given to a 22yr old straight out of college with no experience. I am one of the laid off teachers, and have applied to jobs in all of those districts you just mentioned. I also have had interviews with all of them. They told me I was the front runner until I mentioned I was recently awarded my level II cert and masters degree. None of those districts could afford my salary. All districts are in debt and would rather have a low cost teacher then one with experience and will be a great addition to their school building. These are their words, not mine!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 2:44 pm
I'm going to step out on faith and still apply. So sorry to hear of your experience. I'm sure I'll be fine. Best of luck to you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:39 pm
If they read your resume why would they even bother to have you come in? That doesn't make any sense to me at all. Clearly your education level and certifications were outlined so in all honesty if they were weeding candidates out based on salary you would not have been granted an interview. I don't doubt what you were told but it simply isn't logical. Perhaps your performance in the interviews weren't up to par. I recently applied to Camden and the application is so detailed and in bold they asked if I was a national board educator because they especially want them. I doubt very highly that you were not hired because you would cost too much. I think whoever told you that was simply making up an excuse for not hiring you.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 4:25 pm
You are kidding aren't you? It is all about the money. And they need a trail indicating they were open minded in the search. This is another indicator why suburbanites should care about the economics of urban schools. Every slight of professional teachers will eventually arrive outside cities. We are simply too interconnected in spite of an uneven playing field. We need to care about each other. We need to care about all our schools. In the big picture there really is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide for middle and low income people.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 4:26 pm
I understand but I'm still not staying to make $10,346 less and not get my $3,400 step increase to 11 and to pay 13% toward my health care & work a longer day. I just spent two days cleaning out a filthy classroom. I rather make less outside of the SDP under better and cleaner working conditions. Still yet regardless of what you guys say national board certification will more then get you in the door. All of the districts want national board certified teachers you cannot dispute that.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 9:44 am
I'd be careful about working in Camden. Isn't that the district recently taken over by the state? We see how well that worked out for Philadelphia.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 10:29 am
You're so right & Camden ridiculously has a residency requirement. It's no wonder they're still looking for teachers.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:07 pm
Have you heard anything from Camden? Did your chances seem promising?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:14 pm
They contacted me but they have a residency requirement. There is no way I'm moving to Jersey. They expect you to move to Jersey within one year of your appointment. I gather that is partly why they are so desperate for teachers so late into August. I just purchased my home and I think the residency requirement in ridiculous.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:11 pm
They will probably have to make adjustments over the next few years. It would be great if they had an agreement that included Philadelphia in their boundaries. Too bad that one didn't work out.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 3:31 pm
I was told the same thing! I believe you because it has happened to me 3 times.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 30, 2013 10:41 am
I believe this is true. I also went on interviews and realized that many districts want the cheaper teachers(cheaper meaning least expensive) They still have to bring you in and interview you because it would cause alarm if they didn't. They are not going to create a trail of only calling in the cheaper teachers for interviews. That would be obvious. This makes it look fair. Professional recruiters do it all the time.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 29, 2013 8:37 pm
I work for the SDP, but not as a teacher. I'm well aware that teaching for the District is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to working conditions. I applied for some teaching jobs. SE Delco isn't hiring teachers anymore, and their openings were limited in areas for which I am certified. Upper Darby is only looking for secondary teachers. I frequently check PAREAP and most openings are either for secondary positions, charter schools or cyber charter schools, or are in areas to which I am unable to commute. I have no teaching experience, so I face fierce competition from teachers who have teaching experience. Funding is unstable for districts statewide, so even if I were hired in a suburban district, I could be laid off. Camden is hiring but who knows what will happen there. Mastery is bent on moving there (https://masterycharter.cloud.talentedk12.com/hire/ViewJob.aspx?JobID=101) and the state just took over their district. I didn't have SDP dust covering my eyes when I was looking. I interviewed with the District and they told me there would only be openings at the secondary level. Read this article; there is fierce competition for jobs. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130825_More_labor_peace_in_sch... I already know that I will be moving, so it makes no sense to take a teaching job that I will only keep for 1 year. Better to spend my first year in a district in which I plan or working for a while. Knowing that burnout of new teachers is a big issue, I don't want my first year to be so stressful that I burnout from teaching.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 30, 2013 11:33 am
"Report: School layoffs the most damaging factor in slow PA job market" http://www.citypaper.net/article.php?Report-School-layoffs-the-most-dama... If school layoffs are the most damaging factor in a slow job market in this state, imagine how damaging they are to the teacher job market.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 10:23 pm
Check out all the IU units for Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Delaware County. From the last time I checked there were almost 50 school districts within those counties. Then depending upon where you live there's also Chester county or Berks. Point is the jobs ARE out there & like I've been saying for years if you can teach in Philadelphia you can teach ANYWHERE. Imagine that teaching in a clean facility with actual supplies and resources. I subbed in Norristown before returning to Philly and I nearly cried with joy when I saw the student materials. I've also subbed in Upper Darby at one of their "worst" schools. It was a cake walk.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 30, 2013 10:56 am
Philadelphia's IU is a part of the District and doesn't hire separately, as far as I know. The OSS contains the functions of the IU in terms of service delivery for students with special needs. Checked the IUs! MCIU and DCIU had very few openings for full-time teachers. Subbing is an option, but it can be difficult to do without a car.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:28 pm
NBCT bonus was in the Aug 16th check. This is my first year and I got it. You need to investigate further.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 30, 2013 7:45 pm
I was surprised to receive it but, yes, it was in the August 16th check. National Certification lasts for 10 years - then you have to renew. If you didn't get the "bonus" and have certified within the last 10 years, I would call payroll.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 8:39 pm
I agree with you 100% ! How can someone in the leadership position Hite is in make that kind of statement! He is a disgrace to this city along with Mayor Nutter and I agree he should be asked to resign his position along with the mayor and the governor !
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:54 pm
Did Hite really say that continuing education was not important for developing his ability to be in his position? This is the Superintendent of Schools that feels learning and continuing education is really unimportant.
Submitted by Concerned Phila. (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:11 pm
Yes, Hite says continuing education - or higher education for that matter - is not important. Without a doctorate, would Hite command $300, 000 (plus potential 20%) bonus, many perks, etc. a year? No. So, he can "get his" while everyone else is chump change.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:50 pm
Ok, our leader, Dr. Hits, said education is not important. No wonder we are in such a mess!
Submitted by Dave M (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:45 pm
He's such an embarrassment to our fine city.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 12:49 am
He may take our money,, but we will win with our actions, small, deliberate, but every day. Doing only our job, not more as we usually do, not coming to work when feeling horrible, not buying incentives for students - behavior and violence will be out of control, refusing to buy school supplies for students, photo copy paper. How will kids learn? Not our responsibility to purchase that stuff. It will cost so much more financially in the long run that Hite will be laughed out of town. He may very well me the super with the shortest tenure. He deserves it and what he will receive from us for the way he is treating us. He will look like a loser and a fool. Well he will be a loser and a fool! Sort of young to end a career, but that's his choice.
Submitted by Dave M (not verified) on August 29, 2013 2:41 am
I think your comments are right on. I believe the Neshaminy District teachers did this -- just "working the contract" it's called. That can be highly effective. You should bring that up at the Union meeting on Tuesday. I totally agree with you.
Submitted by Only in Phila. (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:40 pm
Hite has called Philadelphia a "cesspool" and now says education does not matter. He needs to return to Maryland and face the law suits.
Submitted by Only in Phila. (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:58 pm
Also amazing the Phila. School Dictatorship is sending tweets as if they are doing the negotiating. Whose in charge Hite? SRC? Have you totally fallen into the den of inequity of the Phila. School Dictatorship?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 2:03 pm
Benefit changes? Or paying into our benefits? Or both? Because I get paying into them. But I am not willing to give up my benefits for some insurance plan that falls short of the coverage I currently have. Freeze my pay rather than a cut? Fine. But announcing this to the public before the members is not ok. And the powers that be clearly will not take any less than what they wanted to begin with. This is union busting, plain and simple. A strike, the Blue Flu--we need to be strong together and take a stand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:54 pm
I agree with you 100% .....putting in for our benefits makes sense. taking a paycut, paying for benefits and having those benefits lessened does not.
Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on August 28, 2013 5:57 pm
You have it right. There are things that we can do to make it more possible to work around the drastic cuts that have come down from the state. We can contribute to our healthcare costs, we can take (with some serious pain) a pay and even a step freeze for a couple of years. That would certainly represent a large chunk of cash being freed up to rehire staff, re-institute programs and bring back other critical spending items. Those are economic concessions that would directly address the budget problems the SRC itself says exist. But what we cannot do is agree to the union-busting demands being made in other areas. The ability to contract out union work at will, elimination of the step system and educational credit, elimination of the work rules that protect teachers from arbitrary action, elimination of seniority, forcing site selection on all schools in a way that gives all control over appointments to administration rather than the shared control we have now, institution of undefined "merit" pay that has been shown to not work no matter how defined or measured, and all those other attempts to load more and more work on fewer and fewer teachers and staff. These things are all designed to destroy, either slowly or by leaps and bounds, the PFT and its ability to stand in the way of whatever the privatization advocates like Corbett, Hite, the Philadelphia School Partnership, and all their cronies and toadies desperately want to impose. If it takes a strike to stop these vultures, then we'd better gird our loins and get ready to walk the picket line. We'd also better have a leadership that takes this as far as it must be taken, whether on the streets, in the negotiating room, or in the courts.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 6:59 pm
Anonymous, You hit the nail on the head. Based on conversations I've had with other PFT members, almost everyone is willing to contribute to their health care benefits. Some members, myself included, already do. There's consensus around this issue. I don't see it as a concession. I see it as everyone paying their fair share. If only some PFT members are paying into their insurance, this should change so that ALL PFT members should be contributing to their healthcare. I am ready to strike. I cannot afford a pay cut. I did not create this crisis. Dr. Hite didn't play hardball with Governor Corbett. A real leader would have the BALLS and the GUTS to stand up to our bully of a governor along with other superintendents. Suburban districts are having to raise property taxes and make cuts, too. Hite could have formed a coalition with other superintendents to fight for more funding. But instead of doing that, Hite is going along with all of this school "reform," a black puppet for the white male school "reformers" such as Eli Broad, Bill Gates, and Mark Gleason. EGS
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:00 pm
EXACTLY HOW MANY CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER PFT MEMEBERS" HAVE YOU HAD ? 10% OF THE UNION WOULD BE 1,000 MEMBERS . . . MAYBE WHO YOU TALKED TO WAS THE MAYOR? REFLECT ON THIS: “ No one has been able to make an argument that made any sense to me that this group of employees should pay zero for their health care in an environment where costs are growing and that is a growing pressure for the School District of Philadelphia," Mayor Nutter says (August 26, 2013) . . . RESPONSE: Maybe this is a typo. Maybe the Mayor means "an argument that makes cents" to him. If not, how about this Mr. Mayor: YES, Teachers should pay healthcare premiums in this environment, just like Teachers in the suburbs, WHEN WE GET PAID JUST LIKE TEACHERS IN THE SUBURBS GET PAID, YES ?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 10:34 pm
Most other PFT members at my school were okay with contributing to their health care, especially instead of salary cuts. There are other PFT members who have commented on this site that they are okay with paying into their healthcare. This is the 21st century. Everyone contributes to their health care. I am a PFT member who was hired within the last year and I have to pay into my healthcare. If I have to pay, and other recent hires have to pay into our health care, then everyone should have to pay at least something into their health care. Agreeing to contribute to health care is a great PR move for the PFT. If PFT members agree to make small contributions to their health care, there can be no blame put on the PFT. Dr. Hite, Mayor Nutter, and Gov. Corbett are the bad guys. They are the ones who want to make us work longer hours for less pay, with more kids per class and no school counselors at many schools. THEY WILL LOOK COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS FOR ASKING FOR ANY OF THESE CONCESSIONS!!! EGS
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 29, 2013 6:55 am
I feel sad for you: "the teachers at my school" ?? Is that 50 members ? A few others on this site ? Is that 100 members ? What about the other 9,900 + ? If the teachers at your school vote you as their spokesperson, fine. You may speak for that ONE school (out of 200). The mayor, Governor and SRC all look ridiculous already. They don't care what they look like. They can pin it on the SRC, who, in turn can unilaterally change the rules(till they're gone). But meanwhile the SRC has zero accountability to the public, for public education. They have not made "AYP" in one year, since they existed. We don't need to help them MORE. "Help them" to fix a broken system ? More givebacks when we are way behind other teachers ? What about the teacher drain we are helping if we do giveback even more . . . What about parents and students who want competitive , quality teachers to stay. How would you suggest we design recruiting presentations in this environment ? Or "help them" break the Union ? We need to recognize the end game, before we lose. We're in a two-minute drill, in the red zone right now.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:05 pm
Seriously? Don't speak for me. Don't speak for "almost everybody." I am NOT willing to contribute to health care benefits. I've accepted paltry little raises over the last 5 years, that do not add up anywhere near to cost of living increases. We are slipping farther behind compared to the rest of our profession, and other professions that have to attain equal education to ours. Just how far are we willing to fall? NO FARTHER!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 12:51 am
Give it a break, they said other members I have spoken to almost all agreed. People have their opinions on either end. I also agree with paying into insurance. We have to be realistic, fight for fair wages and funding, but at the same time put our colleagues in positions to return to their jobs. It's unfair, and unbalanced but right now it's reality. We are getting angry at the wrong people.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 12:00 am
It's good that someone finally said something that makes sense. Reality is concessions will be made like it or not. Most people will complain but when its all said and done only two options will be remain: Accept the changes and move on or Leave the district. I'm sure the district will not beg you to stay. You can be replaced.
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:58 am
ENOUGH CONCESSIONS. The concessions from the past are still penalizing personal budgets today. We already make 19% less than a "market wage" for doing a heavier job. All compensation is from the same pocket. If you cut pay to cover benefits, it is another CUT. We may agree to a "freeze" at wayyyy below our value. That is ENOUGH. !
Submitted by Paulo Freire (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:28 am
A fair wage ? You must be kidding. I agree to take 19% less than market for a tougher job. That's not "fair" wages. Not close to fair. But at least I agreed to it when I came(more than 10 yrs ago). SRC mandates and deletions of School Code are over the top. I DO NOT AGREE to more "concessions" they are demanding. Enough is enough. Money is available. Don't accept the brainwashing and their drivel. Research. Stand up for the profession. Stand up for simple human dialogue. Don't rollover for their incompetency.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 30, 2013 6:16 am
Sure, most people pay for some of their health insurance. But at the same time, most people don't have to pay for their own supplies. I've worked at different businesses as an accountant. Not one of them expected me to pay for the paper that was used in the business. Not one of them expected me to pay for my customers' supplies. All of these things were provided for me. Also, even though I had to pay a share of the health insurance, I was paid a decent salary which offset the cost of the health insurance. No, I didn't get raises every year. But my salary started out okay and kept pace with the cost of living. Here, the salary is almost rock bottom compared to other teachers in the state. No cost of living increases, and working conditions that range from poor to extremely poor. While contributing to health insurance sounds okay because everyone else is doing and we have to be realistic, when you look at how low we have sunk you realize that it's really the straw breaking the camel's back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:53 pm
Someone should let Mr. Hite know that the state of PA REQUIRES college credits beyond a BA to achieve a level II certificate. Perhaps Mr. Hite could have the state change those "silly" requirements.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:01 pm
Hite, like many in power, had very little classroom experience. Nevertheless, this is Hite's resume: "n addition, Dr. Hite has been an adjunct faculty member at the University of Richmond School of Continuous Learning and taught school leadership courses at Virginia State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland. A member of numerous national, state, and local boards, Dr. Hite has participated with national agencies and associations to reform K-12 education. Dr. Hite received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Virginia Tech and a master of education degree in educational leadership from the University of Virginia. He earned a doctorate in education specializing in educational leadership from Virginia Tech." He also complete the Broad Fd. indoctrination in 2005. Apparently, his role as adjunct faculty was a misstep since you can't learn anything through college courses. His degrees are also all in education - none in an academic discipline. What did he teach? How long? It had to be in the 1980s. He claims to have learned from "student data." In the 1980s? Hite is as disingenuous as he is lethal.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:00 pm
Maybe Mr. Hite (since Doctorates are meaningless to him, I won't put a "Dr." in front of his name) needs to tell elite private schools that talk about their faculty with advanced degrees, and for colleges the number of instructors that have advanced degrees. Meaningless? I remember a year or two ago on the news there was a person acting as a dentist out of their south Philly basement. Person never spent a day in dental school. Still this person was filling cavities, doing root canals, the whole works!. She got arrested. Hite should be at her defense saying dental school is worthless, and anyone should be able to perform dentistry.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:49 pm
mr. hite, i won't bother calling you dr. hite, since by your own admission your advanced degree "...creates no difference whatsoever" and you don't think your doctorate studies made you a better teacher. i guess you sleepwalked your way through the program, although i wouldn't go around bragging too much about it if i were you. what a shame, what a waste - why did you bother? did you just want the title on your resume? perhaps next time around, you'll take your education more seriously and get something out of it. mr. hite, you sir, are a fancy talking, paid-in-full hatchet man who is subserviently bending to the will and doing the bidding of those who would dismantle public education forever in this great city. by your actions, you have shown that you neither represent nor enjoy the confidence of the thousands of employees that you would profess to lead. stop this farce of "leadership", do the right thing and step down. you need to resign your position and allow someone who is able and more importantly, willing to assume leadership and lead this district forward.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:32 pm
Hite - Take Nutter, Khin, the SRC, Phila. School Dictatorship when you leave!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:04 pm
yes , Hite Must go with SRC....he is bringing slavery and fear.... am I living in America or Africa? Toomuch of power for a "control Freak"... what guarantee is that ALL LAID OFF employees will be brought back?Hite is a LIAR.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 5:08 am
Not understanding the America or Africa analogy.... Lets at least look like educators when we post.. ok?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:30 pm
Of course Mr. Hite thinks his degrees are worthless, the only education he really values is what he got at the Broad Foundation.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:09 pm
The Board Foundation did not teach him how to deal with us. Just about each of us spends and does more than necessary. When we stop that it will be costly to make that up. When we begin using sick and personal days there will be violence and law suits. There are a lot of us. Small actions add up to a big impact. How long till Hite is asked to return home?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:32 pm
Not even close. We can't save $130 Million by a pay freeze or contribution to healthcare. We need a 10% salary reduction minimum. Either that or lay off another 1300 teachers. $130 Million/$100,000 per teacher per year=$130 Million per year in savings.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:50 pm
What is CASA being asked to "give?"
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 6:20 pm
CASA is in a similar boat to the PFT - basically facing serious salary reductions and work rule changes. What is happening here is criminal and should be looked into. This would not happen in any PA district where the children were not like the children who attend Philadelphia Public Schools!
Submitted by Concerned Citizen (not verified) on August 29, 2013 1:50 pm
CASA members have been asked to pay more into the benefit plan. The 12 month position is also on the cutting block. We are all on the Titanic together..
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:29 pm
interesting, Where are you going to find these 1300 teachers making six figures? Not even close to reality. Good luck running these schools now and you want 1300 more laid off? that makes sense.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:44 pm
The AVERAGE cost of a teacher in Philly, when you include benefits, is 100K. You see, these benefits are REAL costs, whether you want to believe it in your delusional mind or not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:07 pm
And the REAL cost of purchasing our own supplies and paying for students to go on trips because we have no other option is significant. I don't know any suburban colleague that has to worry if they will have toilet paper in the bathroom or if they will be losing their lunch because there is no one to watch students. Those are REAL and do not occur elsewhere.
Submitted by confused (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:17 pm
Then stop buying them. You can't keep doing the same thing you always have and expect a different result. Teachers who buy supplies for the school district--yes, I know they are for the kids, but you are picking up the tab for the district--are enabling them to keep walking all over you. You can't strike, you can't do a sickout either. What can you do that's legal? Stop giving money to the school district. And stop working for free after school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 8:22 am
Explain, how does that work in action? So, I am teaching science and I need materials for my lesson...the materials are not available in my school closet..then what? I get passive resistance but realistically how do I hold the education of my students hostage to a education system that is unresponsive to their needs. The State of PA and the City of Philadelphia are responsible for using our collective tax resources to fund public schools. What we can do legally is to vote and agitate at the state and local level. Don't make this a battle between teachers and the students we teach!
Submitted by Teachin' (not verified) on August 29, 2013 8:41 am
Why can't we do a sickout? Many of us have dozens of sick days to spare.
Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:24 pm
Who are "we"? Are you a spokesperson for the wealthy who got their taxes cut to shift the responsibility for keeping our society civilized on the middle class and the poor?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 5:34 pm
We are not required to close $130, gap, that is what they are asking.us to do. It's totally unrealistic especially since we don't have the state money in hand. That's what's what's unprecedented, a paltry $45 mil now with strings. if we can't start on time we shouldn't and put the onus on th state who btw took us over in 2001. When you do that don't you have an obligation to fulfill? YES YOU DO.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 28, 2013 3:19 pm
wait a second, the $130 million was when the district assumed step raises were happening. no step raises is a substantial savings. 5th year & 10th year are big raises and others are a few percent as well. they can't take the money and then ignore it happened.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:07 pm
My understanding was the $130 million included not just PFT concessions but concessions from other unions, too.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:27 pm
Is my math way off? I don't know how much our yearly insurance premiums are so let's say 20,000... 20,000 x .13 = 2,600 2,600 x 15,000 = 39,000,000 No step increase or pay increase let's say average teacher 3,000 a year??? 15,000 x 3,000= 45,000,000 45 mil + 39 mil = 84,000,000 Seems logical, no? I'm not sure and I'd rather not get rude feedback I was just curious how others were adding up?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:08 pm
Glad someone else is curious about the numbers. I figure the district pays about 3000 per year per employee for healthcare. I checked online and I could get full coverage, on my own, for 4800 per year. I'm almost 60. Since the district gets a discount for group rate, I would think they are paying somewhere around 3000 a year per employee. I am still not sure if the 3 or 5 or 13 percent they are talking about is a percentage of the premium to of salary. I have personal choice and already pay I believe 25 or so per month. I would not mind paying more to keep this insurance but not more than it would cost the school district to pay for it. 5 percent of my salary would be more than they pay. At any rate the district will be saving some money by having us pay part of the premium, but we need to know what that is. I hear what you're saying about savings on step increases. Also what about their savings on the almost 4000 people they laid off. Say 50000 x 4000 is 20 million. Plus savings of 45 million for step increases. No raise this year (average has been 2 percent). Say average salary 50000 x .02 x 15000 is a savings of 15 million. Now we're up to 80 million not including insurance costs and concessions from other unions. I say cut back on administrators and probably there's your other 20 million. All queen bees and no worker bees doesn't get the job done.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:43 pm
Yes. Your math is way off. The average cost of a family plan is about 15K per year. The average cost of a single person's plan with no dependents is about 6K per year. You do have many single teachers. So you are way overestimating the savings there. The step increase may be about 3K but it only goes up to year 11. You have many teachers with more than 11 years in who are finished with their steps. Also there are only 9,000 teachers in the PFT who are eligible for the steps. The other non teachers in the PFT do not get the steps . So you are way overestimating the savings there. If we implement the 13% contribution to healthcare, stop the step increases and take back the extra pay for advanced degrees, we might be able to squeak by with an additional average 10% pay cut. For now.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 5:05 pm
Thank you both!
Submitted by Education Grad ... on August 28, 2013 6:00 pm
Anonymous, You are incorrect regarding steps. I'm looking at my copy of the contract and most positions, e.g. secretaries and paraprofessionals, have steps. EGS
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 28, 2013 10:57 pm
Anonymous - You can check your paycheck stub to see how much you are paying for healthcare. It should be there. The teachers in my school district pay 3% of the premium with the district (i.e., taxpayers) paying the remaining 97% of the premium. My school district belongs to a consortium comprised of 100 school districts. The average premium is $1250 a month for a family plan. The teachers pay $40 a month or $480 for a year. I'd wager that you are paying the same percentage, but the premium could be different. It depends.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 10:23 am
All of our members are not teachers, so those numbers will be far less for aides etc. Also, many of our members are single, so the cost for the yearly premium is far less than 20k. I believe a family plan is 24k while a single plan is around 7200. These numbers are for personal choice, keystone is far cheaper.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:25 pm
As a teacher, I spend on incentives for my students what many pay for healthcare. Not to mention buy school supplies for students and my own photocopy paper. Not this year. How will students learn? I don't know and I don't give a damn. I can't be forced to purchase these things.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 28, 2013 4:02 pm
Oh boy, you're going to get nasty comments about how you're selfish and in the wrong profession. I understand where you're coming from, but it's apparently not PC to express those sentiments. "Frowned upon in this establishment"

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

Read the latest print issue

Philly Ed Feed

Recent Comments

Top

Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300
notebook@thenotebook.org

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy