PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philadelphia’s teacher trouble is coming from both sides. The school district needs 1,000 new ones, yet it hasn’t had a contract with its current ones for years.
Superintendent Dr. William Hite visited Good Day Philadelphia Tuesday and said the district has TV and other advertising to let potential teachers know about jobs that are open here.
“We are in recruiting season,” Dr. Hite said. “It’s very important and while individuals are attracted to Philadelphia, we want them to stay in Philadelphia.”
Click here for the district’s website dedicated to recruiting teachers.
Dr. Hite said this year’s focus is mainly on the early grades and special education, the starting salary is $45,360, and mentoring and coaching are also available.
He added, the district has a 90 percent retention rate, and the jobs are to fill positions of teachers who retired or moved away.
Unfortunately, the last contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers expired in Aug. 2013 and the two sides negotiating are “significantly apart.”
Dr. Hite said the district has almost $153 million on the table but that’s it, because schools don’t make money, and the state and city won’t be giving it any more in the short term.
Also, the raises that teachers haven’t had in five years have to be negotiated, rather than handed over, according to the law.
He admits money from the cigarette tax helps, but more is needed.
Dr. Hite said the district returned nurses and counselors back to every school and doesn’t want to have to make cuts again.
The PFT issued this statement before Dr. Hite’s TV appearance: "We want to make sure that our kids have access to the teachers and school staff that they need, but the issue of going five years without a raise and 1,300 days without a contract creates an environment that makes recruiting difficult and retention even harder."
Last month, teachers put up a billboard on I-95, saying Philadelphia doesn’t value its public school children.