Dispute over 174 Philly teachers’ jobs heads to arbitration

An agreement was reached Friday on the more than 150 layoffs the Philadelphia teachers union says were improper. However, the layoffs of about 1,500 teachers will proceed.

Among the Philadelphia School District layoffs spurred by a massive budget gap, 174 of the teachers who were given pink slips had more seniority than teachers in the city’s promise academies. Those are the district schools considered in the midst of a turnaround.

The union cried foul.

Jerry Jordan, head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said the matter will now go to arbitration.

“Our goal is to have an arbitration hearing within the next few weeks,” he said. “Both sides will request the arbitrator to render his decision very quickly so that when schools open in September, all teachers will be in place.”

Jordan said the teachers’ contract requires layoffs be based on inverse seniority, which means teachers with the least time on the job are the first to go. The district wanted to exclude the promise academy teachers from the layoff process.

A district spokesman acknowledged the agreement.

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