Philly Classrooms Out $200 Million, PFT Declares Victory

Commonwealth Foundation
Contact: 717-671-1901

Philly Classrooms Out $200 Million, PFT Declares Victory

What Could $200 Million Buy Philadelphia Students?

Good afternoon,

In a blow to education reform in Philadelphia, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission did not have the power to cancel the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ contract last year, preventing an estimated $200 million from reaching classrooms over the next four years. About the ruling PFT President Jerry Jordan declared, “This is a very big victory.”

“The SRC’s action was an attempt to require teachers, who currently contribute nothing toward their own health benefits, to pay a reasonable share of health insurance costs,” commented James Paul, senior policy analyst for the Commonwealth Foundation. “This change would also have ended the PFT Health and Welfare Fund’s monopoly over supplemental benefits, allowing the district to save millions each year while still providing those same benefits. This savings would have gone directly into the classroom. It’s stunning that PFT leaders have successfully kept that money from reaching Philadelphia’s students and are calling it a victory.”

What Could $200 Million Buy Philadelphia Students?

  • 11.1 million notebooks
  • 70.3 million rolls of toilet paper
  • 370,000 math textbooks
  • 500 lunch aides for four years
  • 300 school nurses for four years

Paul continued:

“Over the decades of Philadelphia School Districts’ decline, politicians have come and gone, but the PFT has been the one constant actor. Their refusal to make reasonable concessions that would benefit thousands of children is just the latest example that they want to maintain their own power, not what’s best for students.”

James Paul is available for comment. Please contact us at 717-671-1901 schedule an interview.


Cindy Hamill
Dir. of Strategic Communications
Commonwealth Foundation
Harrisburg | King of Prussia
Office: 717-671-1901
[email protected]