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Key provisions of PFT contract: more site selection, 25 ‘Incentive Schools’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The new, four-year contract between the School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) changes procedures covering teacher hiring and assignment. It expands the number of teaching positions that are filled through "site selection"- an application and interview process at the school level.

Site selection and seniority-based hiring

  • 50 percent of vacancies at schools will be filled through site selection, and 50 percent through seniority-based transfer.
  • Each year any school can vote to be a 100 percent site selection school by a two-thirds vote of teachers, with the vote taking place by December 31. Prior contract language for schools voluntarily to become site selection schools remains in effect.
  • All newly hired teachers will be site selected.
  • Retired teachers returning to service will be site selected.
  • At five jointly identified, hard-to-staff middle schools, all vacancies will be filled by site selection during a pilot program lasting two years.
  • Grades added in a transition school will be site selected for that year.
  • Newly built schools will be site selected for the first two years.
  • In replacement school buildings, all vacancies in the first year will be site selected.
  • Seniority rules continue to govern reductions in the workforce.

Staff Selection Committee

  • In consultation with the School Council and/or the Home and School Association, the principal chooses the teacher and parent members of a Staff Selection Committee. The committee is comprised of two teachers, a parent member of the Home and School Council, an assistant principal (where applicable), and the principal.
  • The principal establishes procedures to identify candidates for filling teacher vacancies, and the committee follows the procedures to screen and recommend candidates to the principal, who makes the final selection.

Incentive School List

  • Up to 25 difficult-to-staff schools will be selected jointly by the union and District, effective 2005-06.
  • Incentives offered to attract experienced teachers include up to $2,400 per year in tuition reimbursement for up to six credits per year.
  • Teachers with a "Masters +30" status can opt for three additional personal leave days a year instead of tuition reimbursement.
  • Teachers receive professional development dealing with managing disruptive pupil behavior.
  • A goal is to reduce class size below the District’s average class size in comparable buildings (e.g., K-8, elementary, middle).
  • With the agreement of the principal, Literacy Intern Teachers and Transition Support Tutors may elect to fill vacancies in these schools when they become appointed teachers.
  • Teachers who voluntarily transfer into these schools suffer no loss of building seniority.
  • Schools remain on the list for a minimum of three years.


  • The new contract offers 3 percent raises in October 2005, April 2007, and April 2008, a 3 percent bonus in December, and 1 percent bonuses in 2006 and 2007.
  • The raises will increase the starting salary in Philadelphia to $41,111 a year, and senior career teachers will earn $81,617 annually by the final year of the contract.

Other changes

  • There will be at least one counselor in every school.
  • Teachers’ supply allotment increases from $50 to $100 in September 2005.
  • The establishment of split classes is restricted.

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