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November 16, 2015

Philadelphia teachers union officials raided health fund to pay for offices – report

Education Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
School District of Philadelphia headquarters Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia headquarters on North Broad Street.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers officials used millions of taxpayer dollars earmarked for teacher health care to finance the operation of its troubled Center City headquarters and offer free rent to at least one tenant, a investigation has revealed.

While this does not appear to be illegal, it does put unnecessary financial strain on the School District of Philadelphia, which faced an $80 million deficit less than a year ago. The district looked to restructure teacher health benefits as a way to close its budget gap. Philadelphia teachers do not pay for health care and the union has refused to offer any concessions there.

“Once again, it’s evident that PFT leadership is putting its own political interests over the well-being of teachers and students,” James Paul, a senior education policy analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation, told Watchdog. “While teachers are working hard in the classroom, the union is secretly draining its insurance fund for its own political gain.”

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