Teacher Layoffs on Hold in Philly

Judge rules in favor of union, all pink slips to teachers must be rescinded.

The Philadelphia School District started issuing thousands of layoff notices to its employees on Monday.

"Today marks the beginning of a very dark week at The School District of Philadelphia as the District starts the distribution of layoff notices to employees as a part of a reduction in force to address a $629 million budget gap," the school district said Monday.

In total, 3,024 school district employees -- including 1,523 teachers and 490 central office staff -- were fired. But the layoff notices sent to about 1,500 teachers must be taken back -- for now.

A judge ruled in favor of the teachers' union -- virtually forcing the district to rescind pink slips sent to teachers. The judge cited the collective bargaining agreement between the union and district as the reason for the injunction.

The decision doesn't protect the jobs of other school district employees.

"I don’t want to see anyone laid off," said Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan. "But if layoffs are necessary, the district is required to follow the process agreed upon in the contract negotiated less than 18 months ago... It is a basic issue of fairness. The school district cannot pick and choose arbitrarily who is laid off."

The teachers aren't out of the woods just yet. The pink slips will be reconsidered at a June 14 court hearing.

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Teachers in other places didn't receive as good of news Monday. In the Allentown School District 265 jobs will likely be lost.

The Allentown School District confirmed Monday that 265 "letters of intent to suspend or non-renew" were sent out. Taking into account retirements they said 208 teachers would be laid off in Allentown.


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