Menu
Paid Advertisement
view counter

Stonewalled?

By Paul Socolar on May 27, 2009 02:05 AM

Today, May 27, is the day the District has its scheduled vote to approve its $3.2 billion unified budget.

Usually, by the time of the SRC's budget vote at the end of May, I feel that I've had a chance to ask finance officials about items that jump out at me as requiring explanation and that I get clarifications of these changes to the budget.

Not this year.

We at the Notebook did get a few opportunities to question Chief Business Officer Michael Masch and we have been provided with reams of documents. But there's a breakdown when it comes to getting answers to questions along the lines of "Why is this line item $9 million and not $5 million?"

I've been pleading with District staff for answers on several questions like that since the City Council budget hearings two weeks ago. Mostly these are questions about  big numbers in different documents that don't appear to line up with one another.

After asking so many times and not getting an answer, one has to think the lack of response is by design.

Here are a few of the Notebook's big unanswered questions:

  • Imagine 2014 promises a $4.9 million increase to pay for at least another 500 slots in early childhood programs. but the District's $95.4 million early childhood budget stays essentially flat next year ... so how are they paying for these programs?
  • The District's information technology and finance offices are each getting a hefty $9 million budget increase next year. For each office, that increase is partially justified by a $5 million expenditure item for new data systems. We're waiting to know how the other $4 million will be used for each of those offices.
  • Non-personnel services for special education get a $6.6 million boost (a 17 percent increase), but we have not heard what this money is to be spent on.
     

It's rarely the case that we have so many multimillion dollar increases in budget lines. All the more reason to make sure this year we understand each of them.

Comments (1)

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on June 22, 2009 12:43 pm

Kristen Graham is on now...at 12 to 1...taking live questions...she is the Philly Inquirer's district reporter...

Ask yer questions...now...

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

          

Philly Ed Feed

Stopping Summer Slide

 

Recent Comments

Top

Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300
notebook@thenotebook.org

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy