Philly principals’ union files grievance over outsourcing of substitutes

The union that represents Philadelphia school administrators has filed an unfair labor practice against the Philadelphia school district, protesting the outsourcing of substitute principals. 

“We have a clause in the contract that speaks to the fact that the district will not hire people to do work that’s routinely done by members of CASA, and when it comes to substituting as a principal or assistant principal, that is something that has been exclusively done by members of CASA,” said Robert McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators.

Informed of the district’s desire to use an outside firm to provide substitute administrators in early July, McGrogan directed his lawyer to file an unfair labor practice. It was filed July 8.

The district’s action coincides with its move to privatize substitute teaching services — which it said was necessary in order to raise the substitute coverage rate, which sat at just 64 percent last year.

The district has contracted with the Cherry Hill-based Source 4 Teachers to manage substitute services. The two year deal will cost the district $34 million – saving the district more than $10 million annually.

For teachers, Source 4 Teachers guarantees a 90 percent coverage rate.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the district’s rationale in outsourcing principal and assistant principal substitutes is to streamline operations.

“We actually want one entity to do this and make sure we keep that entity accountable for doing that work,” said Gallard.

Gallard said he could not comment on McGrogan’s assertion that the action violates the CASA contract.

“The school district of Philadelphia will continue to put the needs of students first, and vigorously defend actions that prioritize students,” he wrote in a statement.

A hearing is pending with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers filed a grievence over the substitute teachers matter in June.

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