Even after last week’s deal in the Pennsylvania legislature to help the Philadelphia School District, 3,800 teachers and support staff laid off in June still do not know if they will be back at work in the fall.
Those teachers and staff now face the choice of waiting to see if they can stay with the district or diving into the job market.
The last time Anissa Weinraub was laid off she was rehired to her position as a Philadelphia high school English teacher. She’s planning on waiting again this time, while continuing to advocate for Philadelphia schools and students.
“This is really true of a lot of teachers in the school district,” said Weinraub. “We’re really committed to a system that sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s really committed to us. And so for better or for worse a lot of us will wait it out.”
Not all teachers are willing to wait
Ahngelique Davis has worked at five different schools in the District, moving her way up from a noontime aid to a math and science teacher before being laid off. She sees a silver lining in her situation.
“I was always looking for the opportunity to grow and become better at what I do,” said Davis. “So I’ve been looking for jobs, interviewing.”
So far, she hasn’t had much luck. Should she be reinstated in the fall, she would consider teaching in Philadelphia again.
Returning teachers might not come back to the same salary. The school district is asking for more than $130 million in union concessions to help balance its budget. Those concessions will likely involve significant teacher pay-cuts.
Bernadette McHenry, a laid off social studies teacher from Bartram High School, says she can’t afford to work for less.
“When the new contract came up I thought, you know, I would stick it out. After getting laid off I thought, maybe this is time for me to rethink things,” said McHenry.
Teaching is her second career, after spending years working in advertising. For now, she is likely to return to advertising.