School District of Philadelphia and PFT reach tentative contract agreement

The School District of Philadelphia and its teachers have finally agreed on a tentative contract after over four years of negotiations.

"I'm glad and blessed that they continued on a mission without a contract," said Stacie Beverly. She is praising Philadelphia School District teachers for staying the course through years of working without a contract. We talked to her at a graduation she attended for Hill Freeman School.

"We have to make sure that our teachers are compensated just like anybody else. We compensate sports, we compensate all these other things and we need to look out for our teachers because everyone needs a teacher to get into any profession that they enter into," she said. Today the School District of Philadelphia and the Federation of Teachers announced a major break in negotiations. They've come up with a tentative contract agreement that Superintendent William Hite says will restore stability.

"Stability means that we have teachers who are not looking to go other places. Stability means we can focus intently on improving on teaching and learning. Stability means we can ensure that the climates in our schools are conducive to great learning," said Dr. Hite. As for why it's taken nearly five years? He says, "We were facing dire fiscal challenges and it was followed by a series of school closures, layoffs of massive numbers of individuals and the elimination of a lot of things from schools."

Kunta Littlejohn is a parent. He's relieved to hear there's some movement on the issue. He was concerned about the future of students if teachers didn't get a new deal.

"Without the proper tools, guidance and supplies how can they take the future to the next level?" he said.

Pft President Jerry Jordan says they will have a special membership meeting where members will vote on the contract. That will happen Monday evening.