School employee with job protection one of 76 laid off by district

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Cuts in the school district's budget have sparked protests for months, and more layoffs are coming.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Cuts in the school district's budget have sparked protests for months, and more layoffs are coming.
Posted: June 16, 2013

MORE Philadelphia school employees were told yesterday that they were losing their jobs as the latest wave of layoffs hit the district's headquarters, including workers who were guaranteed job security in their contract.

About 76 employees who work at Broad Street near Spring Garden were told that June 30 would be their last day, the district said in a statement. Another 61 vacant positions will be eliminated.

The layoffs, which the district says will save $23 million, come on top of last week's whopping announcement of 3,783 layoffs, moves aimed at helping close a $304 million shortfall, district officials said.

Of the employees nixed from the district yesterday, 37 are members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and 10 belong to the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, according to representatives of those unions. The district could not provide a breakdown of the rest of the laid-off employees.

Theresa Minnick - a 36-year veteran of the school district who works with schools and administration offices to submit their inventory - believed she was in for some good news about her work performance when the secretary for Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski said he wanted to meet with her.

Since Minnick and several other PFT members believed they had job security guaranteed through the contract, the thought of a layoff didn't enter her mind, she told the Daily News.

Stanski told her that because of the "financial concerns" the district was facing, "they were downsizing and I was going to be unemployed," she recalled him saying.

When Minnick told the CFO that she couldn't be laid off, he looked "confused" and turned to the woman from human resources, she said. "You'd have thought we would have looked into this prior to issuing letters," Stanski told her, according to Minnick.

The CFO insisted she take the letter because "there is no job for you as of right now," he said, according to Minnick.

She said she's "shocked and horrified" by the layoff.

Full- and part-time employees hired before June 30, 1980, "shall continue to be employed in their positions and be guaranteed full and complete job security during the term of this Agreement," the contract reads.

On June 3, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the PFT, which filed a grievance over a similar move by the district last year to lay off four teachers protected by the contract, PFT officials said.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said last night, "We don't comment on pending litigation."

The union lashed out at the district and the layoffs.

"It's pathetic. These people who work with numbers don't see the faces that go with the numbers," said PFT vice president Arlene Kempin. "I don't know how they sleep at night."

The jobs lost will impact services in central administration offices such as Academics, Student Services, Communications and Family and Community Engagement.

Live-streaming of School Reform Commission meetings online will end, for example. Driver's education is also cut and families should expect reduced customer service, the district said.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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