Bill Would Send Ghost Teachers Back to School

Bill Would Send Ghost Teachers
Back to School

Ends Abuse of Union Work on School Time in Pittsburgh & Phila.   

October 20, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—With Halloween quickly approaching, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh students won’t have to go far to get their scares—dozens of ghost teachers haunt their halls, some for as many as 30 years.

Today at a Capitol press conference, Reps. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Jim Christiana unveiled legislation to end the abuse of union release time in the School District of Philadelphia and the Pittsburgh School District. A combined 79 school employees in these districts can cut class and work full-time for teachers unions while remaining on the district payroll, accruing teacher seniority, enjoying health benefits, and earning pension credit.

Press conference video available here.

“Union leaders are abusing public resources by taking these ghost teachers out the classroom to staff their own organizations—all on the taxpayer’s dime,” commented Matthew Brouillette, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation and former history teacher. “This is a disservice to our students, it’s unfair to dedicated teachers, and it’s a breach of public trust.

“At a time when the School District of Philadelphia is facing teacher shortages and substitute staffing problems, it’s particularly galling that qualified teachers are being held back to benefit a union, not teach kids.”

Facts on Ghost Teachers

  • In Philadelphia, up to 63 district employees can work full-time for the union
  • In Pittsburgh, up to 16 district employees can work full-time for the union
  • Since 1999, $1 million dollars in state pensions for Phila. ghost teachers costs have gone unreimbursed
  • Philadelphia ghost teachers made $1.7 million last year—$36 million since 2003

Brouillette continued:

“Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan hasn’t taught a class in 30 years, yet he still receives a teacher’s salary and benefits. That’s an insult to the dedicated classroom teachers working hard to educate Philadelphia students on a daily basis.

“Though some reimbursement is taking place, it’s an insult to taxpayers that the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has no contractual obligation to repay costs the district incurs from these ghost teachers.

“This legislation is a no-brainer: Unions can hire their own employees—they should not be allowed to cannibalize classrooms to staff their offices.”

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 to schedule an interview.

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