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Philadelphia school district, teachers union reach tentative 1-year contract extension

Philadelphia school district teachers would get 5% raise under tentative contract extension
Philadelphia school district teachers would get 5% raise under tentative contract extension 00:28

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The School District of Philadelphia and its largest union announced a tentative one-year contract extension Wednesday that would give teachers a 5% raise and retention bonuses.

The tentative agreement between the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the school district comes six months before the current collective bargaining agreement expires.

If the union ratifies the extension, PFT members in the Philadelphia school district would see a 5% raise in September, a $1,200 retention and re-engagement bonus in June, and eligible members for "step" increases would get their next step movement.

The Designated Schools Program also would be extended through Aug. 30, 2025 - eligible teachers would receive $2,500 bonuses in June 2024 and September 2025.  

Additionally, the union president and superintendent, or a designee from both sides, would meet to discuss shared interests.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan called the tentative agreement a "forward-thinking down payment on the long-term commitment to ensuring that our schools are fully staffed with qualified teachers and support staff."

The agreement comes as Pennsylvania is facing a teacher shortage.

Jordan said the extension would address the issue in two ways: pay raises and increasing incentives for teachers to work in the school district with higher wages.

"This union has been at the forefront of working toward real solutions," Jordan said in a news release. "That means addressing issues at the district level, legislatively, and by winning real, significant wage increases for every single member of this union."

Last month, Jordan announced his retirement as PFT's president. Jordan will serve the remainder of his term, which ends June 30. Arthur Steinberg will take over as union president on July 1.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington said the tentative agreement "fairly supports the needs of our PFT members while helping us Accelerate Philly and become the fastest improving, large urban school district in the nation."

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will vote to ratify the agreement during a meeting on March 6.

The teachers union represents more than 13,000 teachers, librarians, school nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers, secretaries, paraprofessionals, classroom assistants, non-teaching assistants and other staff, according to its website.   

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