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Stop paying 'ghost teachers' to work for unions

| Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 9:00 p.m.

Public school teachers are paid to teach. Yet in Pennsylvania, millions of dollars in salaries and benefits are paid to “ghost teachers” who work not in classrooms but exclusively for their unions.

In Allentown, the public has paid more than $1.3 million since 2000 to the president of the Allentown Education Association, according to The Fairness Center, a nonprofit public interest law firm. That person isn't required to teach in a cash-strapped district that has laid off 272 teachers since 2011.

And while the union prez draws a public school paycheck, that person also is earning public employee pension credits along with seniority over teachers who do teach.

This is no anomaly: In Philadelphia, 16 teachers accrued $1.5 million this school year while working full-time for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, according to Pennsylvania Watchdog.org. While the union says it reimburses the district for its ghost teachers, it hasn't provided any documentation, according to Watchdog.

In effect, public education dollars are being spent on teachers working not to educate children but to advance their union's agenda.

Pending legislation (HB 2125) would pull the sheet off ghost teachers and compel teacher unions to reimburse districts. Here's a better idea: Prohibit teachers from doing any union work on the public's dime and let unions find and employ their own workers.

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