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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: August 28, 2015 02:15 PM
From: Representative Kristin Hill and Rep. Jim Christiana
To: All House members
Subject: Returning Ghost Teachers Back to the Classroom

In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation of importance to Pennsylvania students and our education system.

Currently, teachers unions’ collective bargaining agreements can require work arrangements—often known as official time, release time, or union leave—where school district employees are allowed to work full-time for the union, instead of teaching our children. These employees remain on district payroll with full salary and benefits and continue to accrue seniority and credit towards their pensions as if they were in the classroom.

While many school districts across Pennsylvania have release time provisions, the practice is most prevalent in Philadelphia. Right now, there are more than 20 teachers on release in the School District of Philadelphia doing union work on school time—most of which have been out of the classroom for at least 15 years. These teachers are sorely needed at a time when the district is struggling to keep and add new teachers to meet students’ needs in the classroom.

Further, the district has no knowledge of what these teachers are doing while on the public payroll. While records show the union is voluntarily reimbursing the district for much of these teachers’ salary and benefits, it is not obligated to do so. Moreover, the state is not entitled, nor has it received, reimbursement for its share of these teachers’ pension—costing state taxpayers more than $1 million since 2000.

We will be introducing legislation to put taxpayer resources back into the classroom to benefit students by putting an end to the practice of “full-time union leave” and returning teachers to the classrooms, rather than working for a private organization and being paid by taxpayer dollars. Public resources should never be used for the sole benefit of a private organization without serving some public purpose.

Please join us and co-sponsor this important legislation, which will benefit Pennsylvania students and our education system. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Klock by phone at 783-8389 or by email at sklock@pahousegop.com

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Introduced as HB1649