The SRC strikes back
After a Commonwealth Court ruled that the School Reform Commission lacks the authority to cancel its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the SRC filed an appeal this past Monday.
Last fall the SRC voted unanimously to cancel the contract with the PFT in order to rework its health care provisions. The plan would have cut nearly $45 million from teachers' health care benefits to increase funds for schools. On Jan. 22 the Commonwealth Court ruled that the SRC lacked the authority to cancel the PFT contract.
The district and SRC are asking the Supreme Court to find that, during periods of fiscal distress, the SRC has authority to identify savings in labor contracts and redirect these funds to schools and classrooms.
“We remain convinced that the SRC had clear statutory authority when it acted last fall to redirect a projected $200 million in savings to our schools over the next four years. The SRC was exercising the precise function for which it was created: achieving financial stability for the district in a crisis of underfunding that has prevented our schools from providing basic resources and services to students,” read a statement from the SRC and the district.
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), stated that the SRC's decision to appeal to the Pa. Supreme Court is extremely disappointing. “The SRC has once again chosen to spend scarce dollars on litigation rather than on the children in classrooms. They have already spent nearly $1 million in an attempt to break the PFT contract while our schoolchildren continue to go without paper, books, and other classroom supplies and resources.”