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Principals put off vote on proposed contract

Exterior of the Philadelphia School District building.
Photo: Emma Lee/WHYY

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

School District principals and other administrators put off a vote Wednesday on a proposed four-year labor agreement that would give them bonuses and some boosts in base pay while holding the line on health-care contributions.

The issue: Many felt they did not have enough information on salary schedules and other details, said Robert McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators (CASA).

The current contract expires Aug. 31, and given the complexities of the deal, "they didn’t feel the urgency," McGrogan said.

No date was set for a revote. But McGrogan said that this did not mean CASA and the District had to go back to the drawing board.

CASA members, which include principals, assistant principals, and other administrative workers, took a big hit in a 2014 contract, saving the District about $20 million.

At the time, the District was deep into a funding crisis that has now eased somewhat. According to a budget adopted last week, it expects a small fund balance at the end of this fiscal year and next while planning for "fair" agreements with its unions. However, with expenses growing faster than revenues, it still faces a structural deficit starting in 2019.

The District issued a statement saying, "We respect the CASA ratification process and will provide CASA with any additional information their members may need to review before voting." Other District bargaining units, including its blue-collar workers, also agreed to concessions.

For nearly four years, the District has failed to reach agreement with its largest union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Its members are currently working without a contract and haven’t received raises for all that time. Most PFT members do not contribute to their health care, which has become one of the issues in the talks.

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