Philly principals say no to concessions

The Philadelphia School District's principals' union has said no to a deal that would have given the district financial concessions.

Robert McGrogan, president of the local Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, said the vote was incredibly close, decided by four votes. It was finalized Tuesday.

In the end, the proposal - which would have delayed raises and meant contributions toward healthcare if they had been adopted by the larger teachers' union - was just too tough a sell, McGrogan said.

"Let's face it," he said.  "The district sent mixed messages - they said, 'It's a dire financial situation, the district is broke,' but their behavior with Dr. Ackerman did not indicate that."

The SRC bought Ackerman out of her contract for $905,000 - $500,000 of which came from district funds, with the rest supplied by private, anonymous donors. 

The district is counting on $75 million in givebacks from its five labor unions.  CASA and 32BJ, the union representing mechanics, janitors and other support staff, had both reached tentative agreements with the district; 32BJ is in the process of taking a vote on its deal.

McGrogan said that it's now up to the district to honor its contract.  His members were due a step increase on July 1, but it had been withheld pending the vote.  Now, members should start receiving that increase plus retroactive pay.

He said he would consider a district counterproposal only if it were substantially different than the one his members just voted down.

"The ball is in the district’s court to move forward," McGrogan said.

CASA's contract runs through 2012. 

Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that "the district is disappointed by the narrow defeat of the proposed contract amendment by CASA earlier today.  We will continue to work with CASA's leadership and its members to achieve the necessary savings."