Philly teachers approve 1-year contract extension

    Teachers in the Philadelphia public schools have approved a one-year contract extension that also helps the district close a massive budget hole.

    The deal covers about 15,000 teachers and other staff members. They’ll keep a 3 percent raise scheduled for Jan. 1 and have no changes in their benefits through August 2013.

    But yesterday’s vote also enables the district to restructure its payments to the union’s health and welfare fund.

    District officials had asked the teachers union and four other units for a total of $75 million in givebacks in order to close a spending gap of more than $629 million.

    Teachers union president Jerry Jordan said he would not renegotiate as long as Superintendent Arlene Ackerman was still in office. She abruptly left in August after months of turmoil.

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