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SRC Cancels the PFT Contract

At 9:30am today teachers and students were in school, parents and community allies were at work, and the SRC was voting unanimously to cancel the PFT’s contract and impose new health insurance benefits. In what can only be described as a complete disregard for process, and likely a violation of the Sunshine Act, the meeting (which was only advertised in the newspaper on Sunday) lasted seventeen minutes and only allowed for speakers after the resolution passed. During the presentation of the resolution, Council Chair Bill Green talked about “shared sacrifice”- a message we have heard a lot from a District that continues to pay six-figure salaries to many of it’s staff.

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Lisa Haver, PFT retiree, was the only speaker and directly confronted SRC member Sylvia Sims asking her to not abandon the community she was appointed to represent.

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It’s shameful that while those most affected by these actions are at work our District is stripping them of their rights. It is a shocking move, even for a District run by Broad Academy graduate Bill Hite. This work to bust teachers’ unions and the contracts that protect them from arbitrary decisions by the District are a quintessential part of the “education reform” movement’s platform.

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Last year Hite eliminated teacher seniority and now the District has taken the ultimate step of eliminating the teachers’ contract. Despite their assurances that this move is only about health insurance and that they are still willing to bargain in good faith, we have seen time and again that we cannot trust what they say.

We see this as the continued effort by Dr. Hite and the SRC to implement the Boston Consulting Group’s plan of closing schools, privatizing services, and breaking the teachers’ union. Our fight back against this blatant dismantling of our school system will have to be bigger than ever before.

In addition to Dr. Hite and the SRC corroborating to dismantle public education, we must not forget that Governor Corbett, who appointed Bill Green to the SRC, is up for re-election very soon. Last spring, a secret poll was released which suggested that Corbett “exploit the Philadelphia schools crisis to attack the teachers union in an effort to boost his faltering reelection prospects”. The secret poll was funded by PennCAN, which was launched by the Philadelphia School Partnership. This most recent attack on teachers is simply following suit with the plan to boost Governor Corbett’s re-election plan. There is no effort by the SRC, Dr. Hite, or Corbett to actually preserve or uphold public education. Rather, this is about politics and profit.

Here is the full text of the resolution the District passed:

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