Philadelphia teachers, district reach tentative contract

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Philadelphia teachers, district reach tentative contract. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on June 16, 2017. (WPVI)

The School District of Philadelphia and its teachers have agreed on a tentative contract after over four years of negotiations.

At the Hill-Freedman World Academy's commencement at LaSalle University, Philadelphia School District Superintendent, Dr. William Hite announced, "I'm proud to say we've reached a tentative agreement with the PFT."

The announcement by the superintendent was one more reason to celebrate Friday.

The potential end to a four year stalemate bringing much-needed stability according to Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

"Stability means we have teachers who are not looking to go other places. Stability means we can focus intently on improving teaching and learning," Dr. Hite said.

The last contract expired just before these graduates started high school in 2013.

In May, many frustrated educators took to the streets--protesting the lingering stalemate and five years without a raise.

"Remember when we started this process four years ago we were facing dire fiscal challenges, followed by school closures," Dr. Hite said.

The district's finances have improved and a city-wide commercial reassessment will help foot the bill for part of the New Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract.

In a statement, Mayor Kenney said, "We've seen how the absence of a contract has jeopardized the District's hard-won stability and hurt our city's ability to attract business and families. Today we are taking an important step for students, teachers and Philadelphians."

The difficult four year wait wasn't lost on relatives of graduates.

Stacie Beverly of West Oak Lane said, "I'm very excited teachers do have a contract. I'm glad and blessed they continued on a mission without a contract."

Kunta Littlejohn of Mount Airy added, "Whatever they ask for they should get because not only are they teachers in this society, they're parents as well as social workers."

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan says he's hopeful the contract "will mean improved stability for our members and our school children."

No terms were announced, pending the ratification of the deal by the union's 12,000 members. The contract would run through 2020.

Jordan says the union will schedule a special meeting for members to vote.

Superintendent William Hite says getting a contract was his top priority this school year, which wraps up for students on Tuesday.
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