The war on teachers continues

And now, the war on teacher pay begins in Philadelphia:

It’s going to be a long summer.

The Philadelphia School District wants its teachers to lengthen their workdays, give back up to 13 perent of their salaries, and forego pay raises at least until 2017. It wants to reduce the money paid out to departing employees, weaken seniority and give principals full authority over hiring and firing teachers.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers officials on Tuesday confirmed some details of the district’s initial contract proposal, which the Inquirer has obtained. School officials have been saying for months that they need up to $180 million in labor givebacks annually to avert a five-year deficit of more than $1 billion.

The teachers’ contract expires in August.

“These are not demands that my members would support, nor would they ratify them,” Jordan said in an interview. “And these demands clearly indicate that the district does not have an interest in attracting and retaining teachers.

Teachers who have experience will certainly leave to go to other districts, where they will be compensated fairly for what they do.”

Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn said he could not comment on ongoing labor talks, but said that the school system “actually values teachers as the most important resource in our district. We are committed to providing teachers with a set of working conditions…that will actually in the long run make Philadelphia a place that people will want to come and work.”

Under the district’s opening proposal, issued Friday, the PFT’s 15,000 members — 10,000 teachers, plus nurses, counselors, secretaries, aides and others — would take pay cuts ranging from 5 percent for those who make under $25,000 to 13 percent for those who make over $55,000.

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