Revisionist mathematics -- the same used for Obamacare premium calculations.

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$45 Million Not Enough for Philadelphia Teachers’ Union

by Maura Pennington, Watchdog . org

The City of Brotherly Love has a problem with math.

DOES NOT COMPUTE: The Philadelphia school district received $45 million from the state, but Jerry Jordan and the PFT want it to magically multiply.

Not only did 4 out of 5 of its school district’s students fail to achieve proficiency in mathematics, according to the most recent biannual assessment by the U.S. Department of Education, but the president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Jerry Jordan, this week displayed difficulty with simple division.

Jordan issued a statement earlier this week “calling for the restoration of every school employee that was laid off in June,” referring to personnel cuts made by the state and city-appointed School Reform Commission.

To approve a $2.4 BILLION budget for 2013-2014, the SRC laid off 3,783 Philadelphia school district employees in June, including 676 teachers. Just before the start of the school year in August,$50 million of emergency funding from the city allowed the district to rehire 1,600 of those employees.

On Oct. 16, Gov. Tom Corbett authorized the release of more money to Philadelphia, despite a lack of anticipated concessions from Jordan and the PFT.

With the governor’s signature, the school district received $45 million, which had been earmarked for Philadelphia schools in 2012 out of federal debt-relief money and had been awaiting state approval. This one-shot grant allows for the re-employment of 400 district teachers, counselors and administrators, leaving a balance of almost 2,000 workers whom Jordan insists must return to their posts.

“We cannot say we are doing everything we can to provide a quality public education until these positions are restored,” Jordan said in his statement.

However, even hiring back the teachers alone would exceed the limits of this most recent infusion of cash. The average combined salary and benefits of a middle school teacher in Philadelphia, according to this year’s budget, is $114,000. At that rate, quick mental division makes it apparent that $45 million could satisfy the PFT’s request for fewer than 400 teachers.

Though money seems to be flexible, Jordan and the PFT are not, as they continue to resist a new contract. Three months into the academic year, the union still is in negotiations with the school district and the city’s schools remain in crisis.

“The PFT math doesn’t work,” State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said.“It’s a little disingenuous for the president to be calling to bring people back to the schools when the PFT themselves are unwilling at the negotiation table to free up resources to do that. It’s unfair to the students, to the schools, and to the SRC to be hiring people based on one-time savings. These are the kind of budget gimmicks that got the district into trouble in the first place.”