As the Philadelphia School District continues to deal with a financial crisis, several members of the teachers union are angry over the district’s recent decision to give raises to non-union members.
The school district awarded raises to 25 non-union employees, a move that the district called a “necessary part of doing business.” The Philadelphia Daily News reports the 25 staffers received a total increase of $311,351 in salary, which averages out to $12,454 per year.
“We didn’t borrow money to provide raises,” said William Hite, the Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District. “These were filling unfilled positions.”
Hite tells NBC10 a number of unfilled district office positions were filled internally with many given increased duties.
“Individuals were asked to do and take on more responsibilities,” said Hite.
“Many people out there are being told to take on more and they’re not being paid anymore,” said NBC10’s Deanna Durante.
“These weren’t just taking on additional duties,” said Hite. “These were taking on additional areas where there was historically a different supervisor.”
Jerry Jordan, the President of the teachers union, doesn’t see it that way.
“Members are very, very upset about it,” said Jordan. “They think it’s unfair because they’re the ones who are working in very difficult conditions.”
Jordan tells NBC10 teachers did not receive a pay increase, a concession given to the cash-strapped district. He also believes teachers deserved the raises over central office staff. The District recently borrowed $300 million to make up for a severe budget shortfall.
“If we had not filled the positions or the vacancies, would we have still had to borrow money?” asked Hite. “Yes, we would have.”