Washington is ready for a deal today (fingers crossed), and, as it turns out, so is Philadelphia.
Bringing some relief to what has been a tumultuous year, Pennsylvania Governor Corbett announced today that he will release the $45 million set aside for the School District or Philadelphia. Saying "enough progress" has been made, the Governor is releasing the funds to the district following a letter from William Hite, the Philadelphia Superintendent. This afternoon, Dr. Hite tweeted that the funds will help restore some of the assistant principals, counselors and support staff in schools. Approximately 400 individuals including about 80 guidance counselors, additional teachers, school-based administrators and support staff will go back to work. This funding will also cover the cost of enrollment adjustments in schools and restore music and athletics for the spring semester.
In a press conference this afternoon, Dr. Hite said that the district will bring staff back in a way that attempts to match the "skills and abilities of adults" with the needs of kids. Seniority, the sacred cow of contracts, will not be the sole determinate of who comes back. Schools will choose staff through a "site selection" process meaning school-based teams will interview and select staff from the pool of appropriately certificated laid off employees. (For a complete existing description of Philly's staffing approach, see our Philadelphia district study.)
Meanwhile, the district and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers continue to negotiate on "all aspects" of their contract which expired at the end August.