PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Philadelphia teachers are getting ready to sign a new contract for the first time in five years.
"I'm ecstatic we finally got a contract. It's been a long time coming," said George Bezanis. He is one of many teachers happy that the five year wait is over.
"There may not be everything we wanted but at least we got a contract," he said. Tonight members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and other teachers from all over the district approved a deal reached by the school district and PFT last Friday. Voting happened at the Liacouras Center.
"I'm happy that teachers that have been frozen are once again allowed to move up their pay scale. It's not the money that they're owed. There is significant sacrifice given by people in the middle," said Bezanis.
Teacher Kelley Collings is Co-Chair of the Caucus of Working Educators. She says during a special meeting tonight for members to go over the contract before voting the teachers portion was cut short.
"It's about giving the general membership the opportunity to ask questions and debate the terms of the tentative contract agreement and that opportunity was taken away from the 11,000 members of the PFT tonight," said Collings.
Union President Jerry Jordan saluted teachers for staying dedicated through it all.
"They have gone to school day, after day, after day and they have done their jobs to make sure our children are educated," he said.
Bezanis says decreasing class sizes and building maintenance weren't addressed in this contract.
"My son goes to a Philly public school and right now when it got really hot his room didn't have any air conditioning and the windows wouldn't open. So that's something that hits close to me and again it wasn't in this contract but it's something we can fight for in 2020 and the battle continues," said Bezanis.
A spokesperson for the school district says the contract will now go before the School Reform Commission tomorrow for approval.