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Students demand action from city and state leaders to fund schools

By the Notebook on May 23, 2014 10:03 AM

More than a hundred students marched to the courtyard of City Hall and then to Gov. Corbett's Philadelphia office on Thursday, demanding that city and state leaders fully fund the city's chronically cash-poor public schools and prevent another year of devastating cuts.

Fed up with the lack of action from legislators, students from Central High School, Science Leadership Academy, Northeast High School and Kensington CAPA called on City Council to pass the extension of the city's extra-1-percent sales tax, providing $120 million to schools that the District has already budgeted for. Of the governor, they demanded he provide funding relief to districts still reeling from cuts made years before.

The rally was organized by Public Citizens for Children and Youth, which opposes Council President Darrell Clarke's preferred plan to gradually split the revenue from the sales tax extension between the School District and the city's ailing pension fund.

Clarke's plan was amended yesterday to include a fallback option that guarantees the District will receive $120 million in sales tax revenues. That still leaves the District $96 million short of the funds needed to avoid another round of cuts this year.


All photos by Harvey Finkle

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Comments (15)

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 23, 2014 11:13 am
They should have brought their checkbooks with them. How about these kids get some part time jobs and donate the money to the district?
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 23, 2014 7:33 pm
Really, taxpayer! Funding education is not charity, it is a public responsibility. If you have children, would you want their public education to be funded with donations? Do we put so little value on education in this country that we relegate funding public schools to the whim or donors? Public education is too important to underfund and for us to let donors fund. I don't say this because I'm a teacher. I've long believed in providing sufficient funding for education. We need to invest in our children because they are the future.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 23, 2014 8:04 pm
The schools are properly funded. The U.S. is right near the top of the list in per student spending. Any suggestion of underfunding is simply a myth propagated by teachers' unions in order to extract ever increasing amounts of money from taxpayers. The SDP budget has DOUBLED in the last ten years while overall inflation is up only 30%. The SDP has a spending problem, not a funding problem.
Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on May 23, 2014 10:11 pm

Taxpayer, I suggest you read this story.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 25, 2014 7:25 pm
"We need to invest in our children because they are the future. " Tell that to delinquent tax payers and to the parent who see schools as nothing but a babysitting service.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 23, 2014 11:36 am
After November, let's see how Corbett will live on unemployment and food stamps. The programs he cut.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 23, 2014 1:09 pm
how about the state fund our schools properly so we wouldn't have to resort to raising sales taxes? what are we going to do, suddenly not open our schools on time without the proper staff?
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 23, 2014 4:29 pm
The state is spending more on education than it ever has. The SDP budget is twice what it was ten years ago. There is no funding problem. There's a spending problem.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 23, 2014 5:17 pm
Yeah, all resources are going to build up charters.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 24, 2014 3:40 pm
Taxpayer, In the article, "Lump sum budget counts on $440 million not yet secured; principals storm Council," (, all the evidence points to a lack of sufficient funding: ... Under his plan [State Senator Vincent Hughes's plan], more than $100 million of that would come to Philadelphia by reinstating a budget line item that reimburses school districts for part of the costs they incur due to charter schools. ... Since 2010-11, [District Chief Financial Officer Matthew] Stanski said, charter school costs have grown from 18 percent to 29 percent of the District’s total budget, while money spent directly in District schools has shrunk from 63 percent to 54 percent. Now, nearly one in three city students who attend a publicly funded school is a charter student. ... Principal Otis Hackney of South Philadelphia High School said he told Council members that principals are being run ragged and that students don’t have what they need. “We just don’t have the people. I don’t know how long we can sustain this pace,” he said. ... "No one would submit that the status quo is sufficient for the education of children in Philadelphia,” said Superintendent William Hite. ... Almost everyone says that the District lacks sufficient resources: the Superintendent, principals, teachers, parents, and students. There is CONSENSUS on this issue. Very few people disagree with these facts, and you are one of those few people. The facts are clear. You are denying the facts because you don't want to ACCEPT them! Your denial is like that of those who deny that President Obama is a natural born U. S. citizen, even after he released his long-form U. S. birth certificate! The one lacking credibility is you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 24, 2014 4:28 pm
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 24, 2014 9:21 pm
I understand that people who have a vested interested in more funding want more of it. That's how they line their pockets, after all. None of this changes the fact that the SDP budget is twice what it was ten years ago, despite declining enrollment. It is perfectly understandable that charters are a larger share of the budget now. That's because they have a larger share of the students now. Both the district and the charters are given the same amount PER STUDENT, and that number is TWICE what it was ten years ago. It is unsustainable that the cost per student should climb three times the rate of inflation. That which is unsustainable will not be sustained. We will need belt tightening at the SDP, including concessions from the PFT. The Taxpayers will not have any more tax increases to throw at a school district that is mismanaging the money.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 25, 2014 12:14 am
Taxpayer, Do you post simply to infuriate people? Do you get joy out of making ludicrous comments with no other recourse than to stir people's emotions? Your statements are not factual. The one lacking credibility is you.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on May 25, 2014 12:26 pm
Declining enrollment is responsible for the higher per student cost, not overspending. What charters are paid is based on this higher "cost", and it is charter enrollment that is creating an unjustified multiplier that gets tallied to the District's spending. This multiplier includes private school transfers (due to the declining standard of living due to economic crisis, global economy, and higher taxes). The root cause of the declining enrollment, is (very) bad management and corruption at the City, and possibly even State (evidence Gureghian) level. Senator Hugh's proposal to reinstate the charter reimbursement is not a solution and will simply aggravate the problem. In that regards Taxpayer you have a point. Charter reimbursement is too high. If the line item reimbursement is reinstated, it will remain so, and even increase. If charter reimbursement was adjusted to reflect true costs, more money could be found to reinstate nurses, counselors, librarians. Right now it is an inflated number created by declining enrollment, and essentially paid for twice by the taxpayer. Ultimately management should be restructured for greater transparency and accountability. That should be the starting point.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 23, 2014 1:25 pm
also, it should be stressed that this isn't a long term solution. this is seriously what we need to just OPEN our schools to the same bare bone conditions that they're in now, nothing else! it's obvious that we can't keep taxing our own people to death, but where else would the money come from? yes, of course, students (being facetious)

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