Principals to consider new contract, concessions

SRC chairman Bill Green, right, has signaled he is willing to use the commission's powers to impose terms on its unions.

Officials from the union that represents Philadelphia School District principals have a tentative agreement on a new contract with "serious concessions", and will present the new pact to members at a meeting this Thursday.

Members of The Commonwealth Association of School Administrators received notice of the meeting on Saturday. They are set to consider the new pact on Thursday.

The principals' contract expired in August.

The near-broke district had said it must get major concessions from all five of its unions. The district is banking on $130 million in givebacks over five years from the unions, including CASA and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the district's largest bargaining unit.

No details of the contract modifications were available. Robert McGrogan, president of the principals' union, said there was "compromise by both sides on key issues."

But it was clear that McGrogan does not consider the deal a slam dunk.  The pact contains "serious concessions," he said.

"I along with the executive board believe we have a proposal that's worth consideration," McGrogan said in an interview. "Ultimately, the members of the bargaining unit will decide."

If the principals vote to reject the new pact, however, it won't be back to the bargaining table, he said.

"Our negotiations are over," said McGrogan. "We're done. If we reject this, we set ourselves up for partial imposition."

Under the terms of the state takeover of the district, the School Reform Commission has the power to impose terms on its unions. The SRC has never imposed a full contract, but new SRC Chairman Bill Green has signaled he is willing to use those powers.

A few years ago, the principals had agreed to forego a planned raise in 2012 to help the district through a tough financial spot. They were to get that deferred raise in 2013. The district withheld the money, and the union took the matter to arbitration. The principals prevailed in the fall.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said that no details would be released until after the membership meeting.