In a pre-School Reform Commission budget briefing, Philadelphia School District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch said that to close a $629 million budget gap, the district will lose about 16 percent of its workforce - 3,820 jobs. That includes a reduction of 1,260 teaching jobs, or about 12 percent of the teaching force. It's not yet clear how many layoffs that will mean [because of attrition].
The district will also lose full-day kindergarten. It's going to a half-day program. There will also be cuts to transportation, special ed, summer school, art and music programs. Class sizes, for the most part, will go up to contractual limits - 30 students in K-3, 33 in grades 4-12. Instrumental music and the district's athletics program both stay.
Masch said the district is counting on $75 million in savings from re-opening the district's union contracts. PFT president Jerry Jordan has previously said that the teachers' union is not open to coming back to the table; the teachers have already taken a pay freeze, he said. Masch did not sound convinced that Jordan's no means no. "It remains to be seen who's going to come to the table and when they're going to come to the table," he said the briefing. Remember, too, that under the state takeover law that created the SRC, that body was given the power to impose terms on any union, rather than negotiate. Asked if the SRC would go that route, Masch said that the district would prefer to negotiate, as it has in the past.
The afternoon's SRC meeting will be one to watch.