City school talks continue

Posted: September 06, 2013

With the opening of city schools five days away, contract talks between the Philadelphia School District and the teachers' union continued Wednesday without reaching a tentative agreement, both sides said.

George Jackson, a spokesman for the 15,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said the district and the union would take a break Thursday to observe Rosh Hashanah. Negotiations are set to resume Friday.

Also Wednesday, Jackson said the union had put on hold new ads blaming Mayor Nutter and Gov. Corbett for the district's financial crisis because PFT president Jerry Jordan is scheduled to meet with the mayor later this week.

Jackson said the union decided to halt the ads that began airing Wednesday "to ratchet down the rhetoric."

"Whether it's a permanent state of affairs depends on how things move forward," Jackson said.

Earlier in the day, the mayor's office posted several YouTube videos on the city website to rebut PFT ads charging that Nutter cut money for schools. The city said the videos outline the mayor's "commitment to funding public education in Philadelphia."

The dueling videos come as the district seeks $103 million in savings and work rule changes from the PFT to help plug a $220 million deficit.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. wants PFT members to begin contributing to the cost of their health-care coverage and to cut salaries. He also wants flexibility to assign teachers to schools without regard to seniority.

Contact Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or

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