PHILADELPHIA – EAGnews.org recently submitted an open records request to the Philadelphia school district, and it yielded a bonanza of juicy details about how the school system is spending taxpayer dollars.
While most of the items were contained in our recent report, “Sucking the Life Out of America’s Public Schools: The Expense of Teachers Union Contracts,” a few of the district’s expenditures deserve more attention.
For example, the roughly 16,000 members of the local teachers union--the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers--claimed a total of 3,122 days off for “jury duty.”
Jury duty typically lasts between two and five days. If the average “PFT” juror served five days, that means 624 union members (or 4 percent) were selected for duty during the 2010-11 school year. In a city with 1.5 million people, that seems like an unusually high number.
Additionally, PFT members are paid extra for jury duty--on top of base pay--according to another document obtained from the district.
Barbara Jo Bess Pashak, listed as a teacher at University City High School, is the third-highest paid member of the PFT. Her base salary was listed as $90,146.53 for the 2010-11 school year. But Pashak was able to supplement her base pay by a considerable amount. Her total compensation for 2010-2011 was an incredible $130,657.76--including $382.25 for jury duty--according to school records.
In case you’re wondering, the highest-paid PFT member was union president Jerry Jordan, who pulled in $147,691.97 in base pay from the school district for 2010-11. His hefty pay was reportedly reimbursed by the union.