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Principals’ union and District reach tentative pact

A vote is scheduled for next Thursday.

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.

Fourteen months after rejecting a contract offer and subsequently upending its leadership, the bargaining unit representing school principals in Philadelphia has reached a tentative agreement with the School District.

The agreement with Teamsters Local 502, the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators (CASA) would run through Aug. 31, 2021, according to a District press release. No other details were available.

"We have reached a tentative agreement, and we think that this agreement is at a time when we can bring it to our members for them to decide for themselves," said CASA president Robin Cooper.

In June 2016, after several delayed votes, CASA rejected a pact that included a 0.5 percent increase over four years. The principals responded by ousting Robert McGrogan as CASA leader and electing Cooper.

In 2014, the principals had agreed to reductions in pay to help the District get through the worst days of its budget crisis, which was brought on by massive cuts under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. The principals’ job schedule was reduced from 12 months to 10 months. In addition, most assistant principal positions were eliminated, increasing the principals’ workloads.

Given the sacrifices they had made, "we figured that some of that good would be returned back, but when we looked at the last contract, that didn’t happen," Cooper said. "Then there was nothing that spoke to work conditions or due process, which are pieces that we wanted to discuss. It was a slap in the face, with no consideration to the fact that we partnered with the District."

She would not say anything about the tentative agreement except that "we believe where we are now, it was something we can bring back to the membership for ratification."

CASA members will be able to vote on the pact next Thursday between noon and 7 p.m. Informational meetings will take place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Cooper said.

"We are excited," she said.

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