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The District’s budget: Key facts and figures

by Paul Socolar on Mar 29 2013 Posted in Latest news
Photo: School District of Philadelphia lump-sum budget presentation

The School Reform Commission adopted a $2.66 billion “lump-sum budget” Thursday evening. The lump-sum budget provides overall projections for revenue, expenses, and any surplus or deficit, but does not include a detailed breakdown. The detailed budget typically comes in late April and must be adopted by May 31.

From the budget and Thursday's presentation by District staff, here are some key numbers on this year and how officials propose to close a huge gap for next year.

♦ The District ended last fiscal year on June 30, 2012, $20 million in the red.

♦ This fiscal year, ending June 30, the District expects to spend $227 million more than its revenues.

♦ The District is staying afloat financially this year on the strength of a $302 million deficit financing bond that it issued last fall.

♦ The deficit from last year and the current fiscal year means that all but $58 million of the borrowed funds will be gone as of June 30, 2013.

♦ Initial projections for next year (2013-14) are that the gap between revenues and expenses will widen, with expenses for the year exceeding revenues by $304 million ($2.66 billion in expenses vs. $2.36 billion in revenues).

♦ Those projections assume about a 2 percent increase in revenues and a 5 percent increase in expenses.

♦ A major driver of the increased expenses is charter school costs, which are expected to rise by more than $80 million to $690 million next year.

♦ After tapping the District’s remaining reserves, there will still be a $242 million gap to close next year.

♦ To eliminate that gap, the District first proposes to cut a total of $133 million from its salary and benefits lines – a 10 percent cut. No additional reduction in force in schools is planned.

♦ District also hopes to receive $120 million in additional funding from the state and $60 million from the city. State officials quickly cast doubt on the likelihood of that occurring, while Mayor Nutter said the city would "very seriously" consider the request.

♦ Without the $120 million boost, state aid to the District would be 9 percent less ($131 million less) than it was in 2010-11, the last year of the Rendell administration.

♦ If it were to achieve both the saving and revenue projections -- an unlikely scenario -- the District would end the year with a $56 million fund balance to hedge against potential but unplanned expenses.

♦ On top of proposed cuts to the operating budget, schools face the loss of as much as $134 million in federal funding, due to factors including the expiration of federal grants and possible cuts due to the sequestration. These cuts could cost the District 1,300 school-based jobs.

 

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Comments (147)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 12:36.

Our SDP students, neighborhoods, and teachers are going to suffer because of this? WHY? this something that can be controlled, yet more schools are closing.

"♦ A major driver of the increased expenses is charter school costs, which are expected to rise by more than $80 million to $690 million next year

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:42.

You seem to be missing the Big Kahuna as they say on The Big Island. Charters make money for the shot callers as in business while the real schools don't. The crooked Pols get their cut to, of course, so all is right with the bizarro world in which they live. In the real world where most live, it ain't nearly so good with Public Education being starved by design and kids and families suffering in all directions also by design.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:02.

Joe I'm well aware of the big Kahuna lol,, my questions are more along the lines of: if anyone wants to know where the money is THERE it is (with the charters and those who make money of them) at the expense of everyone else.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:09.

Forgive me---I was being sarcastic. Yes, the money is being robbed from the kids who need it most to go to business ventures of the already rich. The BIGGEST question is what do we do to stop it??

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:33.

Personally I want an assurance that my tax dollars are going toward the SDP, and not a charter with a private manager. I've said this before and I'll say it a dozen more times before April 15th, I think we need a better accounting of where OUR tax money is going. I have no problem with keeping my money in my own bank account until I get an answer.

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:59.

The slumlords will never pay up because mostly they are friends if not the shot callers themselves. You, on the other hand, are regular folks and they will hound you for the money, you can sure of that. The truth is ugly politics has always been around but the whole charter lie fiasco has taken on a life of its own like a runaway train. Everybody in its way will be injured or killed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:09.

They can hound me I don't mind.

Submitted by Fighting For Public Ed (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 12:36.

So, Charter School costs will be $690M next year and the budget deficit will be $242M. Um, does anyone else see the solution?

Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:05.

Charter schools kinda reminds me of a drug. An addict doesn't have a problem when he or she has enough money to buy the drugs, but when the money runs dry he or she do whatever it takes to get the drugs like sell mom's tv, steal from others, and come up with stories

Submitted by Fighting For Public Ed (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:24.

Excellent analogy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:48.

That sounds like the PFT to me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:05.

Agree, let's shut down charter schools, save the $690M and solve the budget problems.

But if we closed down all charter school that would mean the district would then have to serve the 55,000 kids in charter schools. If all those charter school kids went back to the district, the SDP would have to spend more money on more teachers, supplies, etc. How much more? Well, the district spent $13,272 per student in 2009-2010 (last figure I could find). 55,000 times $13,272 is... $729M in additional spending.

Hmmm, I think we need to keep looking for another solution.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:37.

They can stay open. But they should find money that is not Philadelphia school district money to stay open. Pump that $690M back into the district, and it solves a lot of problems

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:28.

It doesn't solve problems for the charter operators or their buddies, the crooked pols. They currently have a gravy train and they don't want to lose it. They're getting PUBLIC MONEY to fund their PRIVATE business ventures and then making a killer profit off that same money.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:07.

"If all those charter school kids went back to the district, the SDP would have to spend more money on more teachers, supplies, etc."

Oh dear. horror of horrors, we might have to invest in our kids in public schools the old fashioned way. Does anyone want a list of the famous ppl who came out of Phila. pubilc schools (back when people had a conscience and gave a damn)?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:19.

The point is the pot of money wouldn't be getting bigger if charters go magically go away. The state and city don't allocate money to the SDP based on number of students. One of the "risks" for the budget talked about yesterday at the SRC meeting was increased district enrollment. More kids = more spending, but not more revenue. Not arguing whether that is right or wrong, but the fact stands that getting rid of charters does very little for the health of the district.

Submitted by teacher in the trenches (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:06.

The district sinks additional monies into charters. They also lie a lot about the amounts. Talk to a principal of a charter and let him tell you about the lies - things they promised to fix that they never did... supplies the schools were told they could keep that were suddenly picked up and moved - I've seen this first hand.
There is a lot of lying coming from our SRC and 440,. This should be acknowledged. some of this is smoke and mirrors and another step to dissovling the PFT

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 14:11.

One of the "risks" for the budget talked about yesterday at the SRC meeting was increased district enrollment. More kids = more spending, but not more revenue.

This is a very important point. State budget cuts mean that even if there are more students for whom the District must pay, the District is just spending less per student . The money must pay for more students.

At SRC meetings, the SRC has acknowledged that each student in a charter costs more money for the District than if the student were in a District school. Renaissance charters cost less than other charters, but Renaissance charters still cost the District money. My question is, WHY DO CHARTER SCHOOL SEATS COST MORE THAN SEATS IN DISTRICT-RUN SCHOOLS?

Education Grad Student

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 23:02.

Charters attract 30% non-public school kids (private & parochial). Those are kids the district never would have had to educate. That's what they said at the SRC meeting. Renaissance Charters are local catchment area schools and don't have the same effect - at least not in the neighborhoods where they are located.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:29.

What people don't understand is that the school district DOES pay for the charters. Where do you think their money comes from?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:54.

The money comes from state and city taxes. The School District does not create funds, they are just a pass through. Even with that, consider that next year, charters will educate 31% of K-12 students in Philadelphia, but expenses for charters will equate to approximately 25.5% of the district expenditures.

The real issue is the historical financial mismanagement of district finances. The real money makers are not charter operators, but rather big time contractors and political bedfellows who have been robbing the district blind for decades. When Hornbeck left, there was financial upheaval. The state pumped money into the district. When the SRC took over there was more money pumped in. When Vallas left, there was a $180 million deficit and money was pumped into the system. When Ackerman arrived, the budget was balanced then after a couple years there was another huge deficit. More money was pumped in via stimulus and the recent $300 million loan. Now, the system is in deficit again. In what real world business could this happen? It's the result of corruption and fiscal mismanagement that includes power brokers in all sectors, including union leadership that gets paid despite union strength and benefits are disappearing. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:57.

This is misstated - bring the money back to the school district with those kids, too. They are afterall the cream of the crop to start with and were our responsibility to boot.
Hire more teachers, get the needed supplies and let's get back to business - the business of the future of us all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 04:45.

Great idea. Let's force some 50k students out of schools they are happy with and back into bad schools they fled.

Every charter parent out there needs to realize real objective this is the PFT and "public education advocates". There is no level of cruelty they will not try to inflict on parents and kids to retain their power and control.

Charter parents need to remember this when the PFT and their stooges (ie Sen Roebuck) come up with reasonable sounding plans to regulate charters- their real goal is to end choice and use their kids as a jobs program.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 06:00.

http://tinyurl.com/ckjgs7h

Submitted by tom-104 on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 06:27.

Your argument was developed and crafted by Michelle Rhee. The problem is, she is also under suspicion for cheating. So your whole argument is a house of cards built on a foundation of quick sand.

http://tinyurl.com/bmrb6uc

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:48.

My argument was developed and crafted by 40 years of failed centralized mismanagement we know as the SDP.

It is like You are selling Ford Pintos and blame the customer for not buying them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 19:37.

Don't think for a minute that parents blame District teachers or the union because you'd be wrong. 40 years worth of work should've alerted you to that. What are you accomplishing by doing this little dance? Aah a "jobs program," I saw this on another page, so I suppose in your 41st year they made you a spokeperson of some sort.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 12:42.

I pay my city school taxes on April 15th, how do I know they won't go to a charter school over whose policies I have no control? I wish city residents would take this question more seriously.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:13.

Do you feel like you have control over what the SRC and district do right now?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:30.

No I don't but my point is why should a public taxpayer have to contribute toward a privately managed entity, don't you think that's a fair question? You can very well say that's what I've been doing but with this many school closures it becomes even more important .If Mastery wants to open up a 6th grade at the expense of John B Kelly Elementary,a District school, why should I have to support that? It's madness that I want no part of.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:22.

If I lived in G-Town and my choices were JB Kelly or Mastery for 6th grade, I don't have to think twice about where I am sending my child. Mastery has a proven track record of success, while JB Kelly doesn't, so wouldn't you rather send your child to the better option?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:41.

Mastery has a proven "track record of success" with 6th grade? No they have no 6th grade, the charter wants to expand (surprise surprise) and take the Kelly population along with them. Why sacrifice a neighborhood SDP school (ones we are trying to hold onto) just to feed into the charter business?* There are families at these schools with older siblings waliking younger ones to school, but charter happy people don't take "real people" considerations into account. In addition I don't like Mastery's public relations push and monopolistic attitude touting itself as the only option in the area post 6th grade.

My children attended neighborhood public schools when education was not a business,* so your " better option" thingy is best left to someone else.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:54.

They do have 6th grade at Mann, Harrity, Hardy Williams, Smedley, Clymer, and Cleveland. Do some research before you start throwing out un-truths. Also, I am unaware of Mastery's "monopolistic attitude" but once again, it is a far better option than many of the schools in the surrounding areas and as a result, I am more than happy to sacrifice a consistently lower performing school for one that is doing it much better. It's only fair to the students.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 16:28.

Why does the District feel the need to close a 6th grade at JB Kelly ( an established Distrct school) just to open up one at Mastery? That is my question, and please try not to answer with "what's better for the students," because #1 that is a dead giveaway to a true "reformer," and #2 it's unproven that the 6th grade WILL perform better. For what good reason would you uproot 6th graders?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 16:44.

"Also, I am unaware of Mastery's "monopolistic attitude" but once again, it is a far better option than many of the schools in the surrounding areas and as a result, I am more than happy to sacrifice a consistently LOWER performing school :>Reformer

I'm sure. So what you'are saying is that a 'monoplistic attitude' is better than a District run school that YOU DEEM to be lower performing. As to who has done research let me respond by saying "lower performing school" and "failing schools" are the newest phrases in reformer lexicon/code .The children affected in the big Chicago public school closures are starting to speak up by saying "why do they keep calling us failures"? Perhaps you need to do some reserach into the psychological impact this tumult is having on kids and their communtities. Is that not a factor here?

Submitted by Christa (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 19:48.

According to Pennsylvania Department of Education Report Cards: John B Kelly Made AYP in 2011 and was put on Warning Status for 2012. Whereas Mastery-PIckett Campus was placed on Warning status in 2011 and placed in School Improvement I in 2012. Looks like JB Kelly is actually the better performing school.

Check out the info for yourself:

Pickett
http://paayp.emetric.net/School/Overview/c51/151514721/7961

JB Kelly
http://paayp.emetric.net/School/Overview/c51/126515001/5294

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:38.

Sounds like a class action suit. I'm in.

Submitted by center65 (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:08.

does anyone know what the daily operating costs of running 440? I would like to know the costs during the months of December, April, August, and September

One of the issues that I look at when buying a new house is square footage that i have to heat and air conditioning. That's one of the things I think about whenever I enter the building

Submitted by center65 (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:10.

I know this is the lump sum budget but does anyone know how much money will go into capital improvements?

Submitted by Peg D (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:55.

Probably the only money for Capitol improvements will be for schools that they plan to convert to Charters in the next go round

Submitted by Paul Socolar on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 14:32.

There won't be an updated capital budget till May 31, but the current one is toward the back of this document. The District was projecting $160 million a year in revenue for its capital program for each of the next several years. The budgeted projects add up to something like $180 million a year but I think typically they spend under what's budgeted because projects fall behind.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:05.

Does the Nootbook know an approximate date when The SRC will decide on Stanton and Beeber?

Submitted by Paul Socolar on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:28.

We have been asking but we do not know anything about the timeline.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:36.

Let me get this straight, the SRC gave charters schools over $100 million in new seats each year going forward and now it wants the SDP employees to give back $133 million to fund a deficit? This seems logical and a good deal for the employees? Go for unions!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:47.

I totally agree, and adding to that salaries decreasing is not an option, it's not done. If they wanted to tinker with benefit costs that's somemthing that'd be negotiated but teachers don't spend more years in a career and further their educational degrees to earn less. Everyone loves the concept of "quality teachers" until salaries are discussed and it's one of the reaons Arne Duncan is setting aside money for Americorps teachers.

Submitted by teacher in the trenches (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:01.

I know the teachers for Apira, Olney High Charter are now trying to unionize. Several got bad mid-term reviews and are reaching out to parents for support. Now they see the need for unions.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:55.

Great! If teachers at Mastery and KIPP consider unionization, the trend will turn toward more unionized teachers. I won't hold my breath - Mastery and KIPP will do what corporations like Walmart do to stop unionization. The fact that charter teachers are at will employees with no real due process makes unionization very difficult and risky.

Submitted by A1 (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:25.

Mastery was just recognized in the Top 10 large organizations to work for in the city of Philadelphia and the employees (teachers) are the ones who filled out the surveys so why would you think they would want to unionize?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:28.

HAHA do yo even realize what you just said?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 20:21.

They are one of the top 10 employers who show blatant bias and discrimination in their hiring practices. Look around a Mastery school. What you will not see is someone over the age of 35. I have had several colleagues who are excellent teachers, be turned down for Mastery. I can't wait to see the class action suits to start pouring in. They get away with picking and choosing their students and the teachers. How is that possible?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 10:15.

With respect to hiring, they get away with it because they're not under our union contract which still has some type of seniority system. Young, cheap and non unionized is what these systems are after. The reformer line is that "unions get in the way of progress" when it n fact unions set the standars for pay, working conditions and collective bargaining which from my persepctive has always been a a good thing.

Submitted by Christa (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 19:56.

KIPP Charters have let teachers unionize in other parts of the country.

KIPP teachers are unionized in Baltimore.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 20:06.

I also believe in NYC.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 13:56.

When we pay union contractors to perform a project, it's like contributing to a democrat. Maybe , we should ask that money go to the party of choice, Hmmm.

Submitted by Veteran of the West Philadelphia "Renaissance" (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 15:13.

Where is the money saved by school closings? Hmmm???

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:03.

Even their own bean counters have admitted that the savings will be marginal at best. What they're not going to tell you is that closing community based schools, destroys fabrics of communities which helps their goal of decimating the spirit of urban America. It's psychological warfare.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 17:04.

Worth reading:

.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/private-firms-eyeing-prof_n_1732856.html

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 16:34.

Everyone keeps saying that the charter schools are taking school district money, it's not their money it's state federal money. How about my tax dollars going to an incompetent public school teacher, do I have the right to ask for my money back. How about my tax dollars help paying for union health insurance and retitrement benefits. Parents are demanding their children enter charter schools, the waiting lists are in the thousands. Game over, let's open more charter schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:07.

School Distsrict money (that comes from multiple sources that fund public ed) is going for charter schools that are NOT run or owned by a public entity, is that too hard to grasp? IMO the concept of charter schools being under the umbrella of public ed was a huge mistake. Health insurance for employees is a part of every school district and is mandated now due to "Obamacare," The retirement system PSERS is run by the state (every state has one), and the employee pays into it with each payroll check.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:16.

Parents are demanding their children enter charter schools, the waiting lists are in the thousands. Game over, let's open more charter schools."

Let them pay for them if they want something out of the public realm. Who the heck is Kenny Gamble or XYZ charter that my money should go to them? Presdient Obama is on record as saying he's not against public schools he just thinks charters provide competition. Where is ithe competition when they keep wiping out public schools? His position is untenable.

Submitted by A1 (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:27.

Better products wipe out the competition!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:56.

Products? come again?

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 17:14.

Obama has been a disgrace to all the people who elected him. A total ZERO. All talk, no action except when pandering for votes. Actually, no talk either. Not much of anything.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:43.

Where do you think "incompetent public school teacher(s)" go when the public schools fire them (which they do despite the talk of all the charter propagandists)? Charters! That ought to give you some idea of the caliber of teachers charters are looking for to fill their schools. They either take newbies (who, if they have anything on the ball, will move on in a year or two to greener pastures) or incompetents that have nowhere else to go. BTW, it is the administration, not the teachers, that hire "incompetent public school teachers" so why don't you complain to them for a change? If you'd done any research you'd see the charters are doing no better than the public schools, in some cases, even worse. That's with their cherrypicking advantage to boot. Why aren't you pushing for charters run by teachers? Oh that's right, they might want benefits and a decent wage. God forbid.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:00.

Anon, You have drunk the Kool Aide and are probably beyond help.

One thing you show though is the abysmal condition of the teaching of history. Since you don't know history people like you once again may take us over the cliff like in the 1930's. Do you really think driving everyone into poverty is good for the economy? What makes you think you will escape the consequences of this? If it happens, you will have to live with the knowledge that you helped bring it about.

This is the future you applaud:

http://tinyurl.com/cwvenzl

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 04:52.

Speaking of historical ignorance, surely you realize that the most successful progressive in US history, FDR, opposed public sector unionization.

Really if you support a more active government, you want it to be productive and efficient. You want it to serve the public, not itself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 07:56.

You think charter schools serve "the public?"

Charter schools serve themselves. That is why they are not public schools at all. They have no accountability at all to "the public." The public or the parents or the students of those schools have "no say" in anything that happens in those schools. The public is only being forced to pay the tuition in those schools.

There are "no public rights" in charter schools.

There are no "public rights" in the private businesses like Vahan Guregian's manangement company. He and his wife have been ripping off the schoolchildren of Chester for years now, and the republicans he gives huge campaign contributions to, are complicit.

What just happend in Camden, with Christie's takeover of the schools and the immediate impositon of him as the "management company" is a disgrace and can not pass the stink test.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:30.

Mastery will be moving into Camden next.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:30.

Charters serve the public Better than the district monopoly did. Not my opinion, but that of nearly 50k parents who have left for charters.

That doesn't even consider the HALF MILLION taxpayers who left the city since 1960, beginning with public unionization and the looting of the city. Before unions, the wage tax was 1.5pct. Yes, the schools were also better.

There is no money left because the check is due for all the sweet deals pols 30 to 40 years ago gave to public unions, none of them funded. PGW workers used to retire at 48.

Money doesnt buy quality. The quality of our overpriced public sector in philly sucks by any measure. They can't perform the most basic duties of government like collecting property taxes. Yet no one ever gets fired.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 17:24.

If the District wants to cut cut salaries and benefits of its own employees, they should be imposing stipulations on the executive salaries of charter school operators and principals as well as people in central office positions for the District. Some of these people, especially those who work for charters, have ridiculous salaries.

EGS

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:12.

The talk of cutting salaries will hopefully (in the minds of the SRC) get people to retire or leave the system thus making way for the newbie cheapos.

Submitted by Kristen G (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:25.

I would rather strike than leave. I love my students and the community where I work. Hopefully, the PFT and its members get some balls so this nonsense can stop. Chicago did it. We can too.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 18:13.

It's worth noting that the District has little control at this point about the surge in dollars allocated to next year's charter school budget. Once slots are approved, the die is cast; state law requires the District to pay for them if they are filled. The per pupil allocation to be paid by the District is set by law. If the District declines to pay, the state will deduct it from their aid to the District. Closing charters is a process that takes more than a year to complete. If charters were to reduce their executive salaries, it would not save the District any money.

For next year, budgetwise probably the best the District can hope for financially is that it is able to continue to fend off unchecked expansion by charters through agreements around enrollment caps. A restoration of some sort of charter reimbursement and adjustments to the formulas for funding cybers and other charters are two other changes the District can hope for. 

Charters could take the stance that these District budget problems are not their problems. The difficulty with that approach is that the more the District has to slash its spending in 2013-14, the larger the reduction in per-pupil District spending - this automatically determines the amount that gets passed along to all Phila. charters in 2014-15. So the way the law now works in Pennsylvania, the financial prospects for charters are closely linked to the fiscal situation of the District.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 19:53.

Thanks for this reminder. Charter teacher salaries and benefits are also suppose to be tied to School District salaries / benefits. Charter teachers, in general, make less and have lower benefits. This trend will probably continue as District salaries / benefits decrease. If a family of 4 needs about $72,000 (with no supports like food stamps, child care subsidies, etc.) to just meet basic needs, few teacher families will survive on one salary. (I realize this is happening across the U.S. but it certainly is something to consider while executive salaries climb.)

When Darden was questioned last year about his arithmetic regarding Charter costs, it was a reminder than the District under Ackerman may have only "opened" Renaissance Charters, which have expanded rapidly, but at the same time she, Darden, Nunnery, etc. gave away thousands of "seats" to existing charters. We are living with the repercussions of the "great seats giveaway" and the Corbett reversal of charter funding. I assume charters will also lose Title 1 money unless the cut to District schools is because of the cut for preK.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:21.

PPT-----First of all, Corbett has no business being Governor. It is OUR fault for his being in Harrisburg. Secondly, read the history and genesis of unionization in the USA. It was VERY ugly but people did it. Those charter lie teachers will find their way to unionization too and it will be very nasty and the corporate types like Scotty, will do anything possible to rid themselves of the trouble makers but to no avail over time. Over the last 40 years the top 10% salaries have increased 2,000% while the bottom 90% salaries have increased by less then 7% or is it 5%?? I forget which but it is alarming and spells doom for all working class and poor unless we stop it. Ending unions ends the hopes of massive amounts of people which would make the rich giggle even more. Teachers overall will fight to protect their families' futures when push comes to shove. LOTS of teachers in charters are grumbling more and more and getting together for their collective best interests.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 23:38.

One of the things the District can do to lessen the demand for charter seats is to expand the seats of its magnet schools. Though I agree with those who have misgivings about this segregation by family involvement and support, it seems this is driving charter expansion, and the momentum is already too great to try and reverse.

I would be curious to see the formula the District uses to estimate the funding of each charter seat. Surely with the consolidation of programs, the per child spendig of the District will go down, and with it the per child payment to charters. To bring this cost down,there were options I did not hear discussed in the move to "right size", such as sharing of administrators or teachers or using "split level" classes. Were there reasons these were not considered?

Obviously there was some cost savings factor in the move to charters, otherwise the BCG would not have recommended using/doing this. How much were the estimated capital cost savings? What were the other factors if any, and how were they determined?

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 05:59.

I don't believe Boston Consulting Group only looked at cost savings - Knudson always said changes were "revenue neutral." Charters have lower costs because most have newer teachers and they have high teacher turnover. (Yes, so does the School District but you don't have high the same teacher turnover in magnet schools, suburban schools, etc.) The vast majority of Charters also do not have unions which means teachers are "at will employees" and do not have true due process. I'd be surprised if Mastery or KIPP, for example, have many teachers with 10 years of experience. Much of their leadership doesn't even have 10 years. (e.g. the principal at Mastery Gratz is 29 - did he even teach full time for 5 years? Young Scholars has transitions some teachers into leadership after 3 years of teaching. KIPP is notorious for long days and a "burn them out" approach to teachers.)

The School District has expanded special admit schools' "seats" (e.g. Academy at Palumbo, Parkway Center City, etc.) I assume this will continue if there is space. The problem is special admit schools may not have the supports needed for students with learning disabilities, ELLs, etc. Class sizes are at the maximum which means teachers have less time for individual students. If a student is reading at a 4th or 5th grade level in 9th grade, s/he will need more support in 9th grade. Yes, we have to ask why so many students are far below reading level but for the time being, we have to address it and it costs money. This article was posted by someone else but it is worth reading - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/private-firms-eyeing-prof_n_173... If "big companies" have their say, they will escalate the cost of education even more but I doubt we will get better results.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 12:19.

In terms of lower costs, and this is what Mr. Socolar pointed out, it doesn't matter what the charters spend on their staff, whether administration or teachers: what the District has to pay charters per child is what the District spends per child on instruction, not what the charter spends. If a charter "saves" by spending less on teachers it does not save the District anything.

There is however a "breaking point" where savings on capital structures, i.e. building maintenance plus a lower personnel utilization (with greater transportation cost and any required receiving facility refitting factored in) balances loss of enrollment (low personnel utilization and greater charter seat cost) for the District. This is what I'd be interested in seeing how BCG figured out. There must also be a time frame factored in as well. If the recommended expansion to charters occurs too fast, then the balance point/desired utilization at the District may never happen. How were the unknown factors such as growth/decline of school age population factored in, if at all?

"Revenue neutral", which I interpret to mean "requiring no additional revenue", must in a negative balance sheet, include savings.

Somewhere the savings on capital structures by outsourcing to charters must have outweighed the expansion of magnet seats within the District. One can imagine that expanding the responsibilities and pay of those administrators of successful (large waitlist) magnets to include satellite locations would cost less than keeping a completely separate administration under a different identity in those locations.

As I said, I am no fan of what turns out to be segregation by family/caregiver involvement and even personality traits; however, this sorting may allow for a better targeting of funds such as Title I to the neediest/most neglected children. Larger schools that are "well behaved" spend the least per child in their school budgets. Central comes in at less than $5,600 per child, even with the "gifted" Special Ed category factored in.

This brings me to a suggestion. Rather than just paying charters what the District spends per child overall, there should be a factor that ties/limits this payment to utilization. In other words, charters should be paid the per child expenditure of the District in schools with similar utilizations. If it is close to 100%, as at Central, then the pay should be closer to that similar home district school's expenditure, e.g. using Central, $5,600 rather than $8,100 with the lower District wide utilization. The Republican sponsored charter payment reform, words the correction in terms of what a charter "actually spends", but that is an elastic criteria, spending can always be increased above the "reasonable and necessary". So this would not guarantee relief for home districts.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 16:44.

I appreciate your explanation. I like your suggestion regarding paying "per child expenditure of the District in schools with similar utilization." That should address the cost of cyber charters in particular. We still don't know the true cost of Renaissance Charters - especially maintaining the buildings which includes upkeep, cleaning, repairs, etc.

That said, what the SRC / Hite Administration has to do is use their power to curb the expansion of charter "seats" and hold charters accountable. It still baffles me that World Communications Charter was given a "great" report by Kihn last fall with documented corruption by administrators, very low PSSA scores, low graduation rate,etc. If World Communications is allowed to operator, every other District high school should operate. There are 16 charters up for renewal - who is asking the hard questions or will Hite/SRC/Kihn give them the "go ahead" while shutting District schools?

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 21:24.

I definitely agree with you about equal standards for charters. We shall see if the SRC adheres to these.

My hope is that the PFT includes disclosure requirements in its bargaining platform. There is simply too much missing information, not only for teachers, but for the tax paying public also.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 21:32.

Agree - transparency is necessary for everyone. As taxes go up, we need to know how the money is allocated and spent. That said, the Nutter Administration has to take seriously the collection of property taxes. The City gov't does not rely as heavily on property taxes as the School District. The fact that most of the back taxes are owned by people / speculators / investors who do not live in the properties means the City should be able to collect. The fact that people who work for the Redevelopment Authority and other city agencies related to housing owe back property taxes makes Philly negatively "unique."

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 17:09.

Philly Parent and Teacher,

Regarding Mastery Gratz, there are 2 principals: LaQuanda Jackson, principal of grades 10-12, and Peter Langer, principal of grade 9. (http://www.masterycharter.org/schools/middle-and-high-schools/simon-grat...)

Can you clarify which principal is 29, is it Mr. Langer or Ms. Jackson? Thanks. I'd also be interested in knowing how you know the age of the principal's age, e.g. if you know someone who teaches at Mastery Gratz.

Based on my time at one of Mastery's schools, your observations are accurate. There were very few teachers or administrators at this school who were over 40. I can say with pretty good certainty that not one of the teachers or administrators at the school was 50 or over.

Scholar Academies has a similar approach to Mastery. I went to a job fair and spoke with one of the Scholar Academies recruiters. She only asked about the time I spent at Mastery, not my student teaching at the District or any other school at which I did practicum hours. Scholar Academies also uses a teacher-made curriculum like Mastery does. Like Mastery's Scott Gordon, their leader, Lars Beck, is a white male who has a background in business, not education.

EGS

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 17:33.

Langer is 29 - read it in The Notebook - http://thenotebook.org/april-2013/135811/gratz-mastery-takes-challenges-... Re: Young Scholars - I've met two people who work there - both TFA, both taught 2 - 3 years and then were given leadership positions. For me, that is not enough experience to tell other teachers what to do. Yes, Mastery and Young Scholars are run by people with a background in business who run the schools like a business. Test scores appear to be the bottom line.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 10:22.

A 29 year old princpal is another reason you will not find older teachers at these schools. It's inconceivable that a fairly established staff could tolerate that even in these changing times.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 20:29.

How can we stop our tax dollars going towards union health and retirement benefits? The more they make the more we pay.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 21:12.

How can we stop our tax dollars going towards union health and retirement benefits? The more they make the more we pay." >>

I don't know who you mean by "we," the more I made the more I contributed to my own reitrement. If you dont like the defined benefit plan take it up with the state, but I suggest you look up what a defined benefit plan IS. I believe I answered this already, but let me add that given what teachers make nobody is going to work if there are no healthcare benefits, so if you want good teachers for your kids, adjust your priorities and your attitude.

Submitted by Madam M (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 23:00.

I like Corbett . I voted for Corbett. He came to visit me in the shelter when I had no power, so DONT' put on your problems on this man.
Grow up! Look at your own broken families for the way children behave in your classroom. Look at the corrupt admins who wasted thousands on unused textbooks that were just lying there in boxes at my last school. Money that could have been put to better use.

Submitted by mark (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 09:02.

You're right. Corrupt administrators caused this. However, teachers - the people who take care of Philadelphia's children for the majority of their days - should not suffer because of corrupt administrators. The effect on Philadelphia's and Pennsylvania's economy will not be a positive one with people having so much less disposable income. This historic city is being treated like garbage. It will end up a disaster when its educators get no respect.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:57.

"I like Corbett . I voted for Corbett. He came to visit me in the shelter when "

LMAO what is this comedy hour?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 23:29.

Stop opening up charter schools!!! Fund our community schools!!!

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 03:11.

would any of you support a ban on district employees sending their children to charter schools? if charter schools are so bad, that seems like a logical step. if you're a pft member, you may not enroll your child in a charter. how much support would that idea attract? zippo! also, don't look for a charter union too soon. most people work in charters to avoid the union. if any of you believe the union has your interests at heart, you deserve what is happening. let's see if they reduce the number of union positions. everyone's being cut, why not the union staff? will your dues go up in the wake of pay reductions? will they divert some of the funds for political activities to pay for union members in need? for an industry made up of college educated people, you guys are the biggest saps on the planet. your union has failed you and made you a co-conspirator in the destruction of government run schools. the kirsch-jordan regime has watched your ability to teach get picked apart as the union co-signed all those lies about increased test scores and graduation rates. you knew better, but didn't say anything. you got your raises. when the queen and jughead wasted money hand over fist, jerry sat quietly in her lap as precious funding was burned on her imaginary school reforms. you can blame the charters all you want. your anecdotal stories about a few schools don't negate the fact that over 50,000 have chosen a charter over you. the budget projections (despite all your stories about all the kids getting kicked out) point to growth of charter seats. your dependable allies have abandoned you. and you can't get enough op-eds by randi and diane published to turn the tide. hell, even your own colleagues send their children to charters for better educational opportunities. yet all we seem to hear is charter bashing. do any of you have the good sense to see your situation clearly? like aretha franklin once asked, who's zooming who? you want respect, support a moratorium on pft members enrolling their children in charters. put your children where your mouth is.

Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:27.

Unless you belong to the 1%, you shouldn't be gloating. When they are done with the teachers, who will be next?

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:48.

i'm not gloating. i want more honesty from the pft. how they can question the existence of charters while so many of their members send their kids to charters? the persistent commentary here is that charters are sub-standard, cheaters, and drainers of public moneys. it is only right that you take a firm stand against these terrible schools. will you support a moratorium on pft members enrolling their children in charter schools? if you believe in what you say this isn't a tough decision.

as for the 99% nonsense, is your politics influence by the filthy, non-working (not unemployed, never worked/never will) loudmouths that made city hall courtyard smell for months? they are the 1%. the rest of us bathe.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:02.

"as for the 99% nonsense, is your politics influence by the filthy, non-working (not unemployed, never worked/never will) loudmouths that made city hall courtyard smell for months? " >> reformer

You go girl, showing your true colors. What a nasty comment.

Submitted by HS teach (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 18:42.

PFT cannot have a "moratorium", it does not tell its members what to do in their private lives.
A lot of charters ARE substandard cheaters, and all of them are drainers of public money. Many of PFT members ARE as brainwashed and uninformed as you are, and self-identify with ruling elites. (The fact that you bathe will not save you from 1% screwing you up every step of the way, unless, of course you are one of them, which i doubt you are).
And yes, PFT is not perfect, and could do a better job educating its constituency.

Submitted by psychotherapy schools (not verified) on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 10:57.

Now I am going away to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming over again to read additional news.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:53.

, "support a moratorium on pft members enrolling their children in charters. put your children where your mouth is." >reformer

Yeah great contribution here. lol. You are never going to get anywhere pitting teachers against their union whether the union is or isn't serving all the best interests of it's members. We are cognizant of the PFT's faults but we'd be in the same pitiful boat as charter teachers without our union. Nice try.

Submitted by Robert Scherf (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 05:26.

There should be 'no profit' in public education. Why are tax dollars going in some peoples pockets when children don't have paper and pencils?

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 07:28.

maybe you haven't been paying attention, there are no for-profit charter schools in philadelphia! none, nada, zip. do you object to your tax money being forced from the hand of the public servant you paid (namely the district teacher) to the coffers of some politician without a word of consent. are you for 3rd grade teachers getting paid $95,000 to teach a class that winds up 30% proficient? are you for high schools with a principal and 3 assistant principals (at a cost of over 1/2 million dollars) that is persistently dangerous and in school improvement 2 for the 8th year? there's plenty of fraud, waste, mismanagement and plain old stealing in government run schools. does any of it bother you? it's the reason your kids don't have pencils.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:53.

How many third grade teachers make 95,000?? Sign me up! Oh right... Only the few veterans that have been serving your community for 30 + years! Teachers can only do so much with so little. Proficiency would improve with standards and expectations at home.

Submitted by Truth (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 08:53.

What 3rd grade teacher gets $95K to teach? I want that job!
I also wonder - would those kids have been only 10% proficient if it weren't for that well-paid teacher?

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 09:52.

ethel allen school. and it might be you because your numbers are spot on regarding the "it could've been 10%" comment.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:19.

I've been with the district 10+ years and I am far from 95,000. Please do not make generalizations based on a few of our esteemed veteran teachers that have earned their spot in the ranks. Why do you have such a distaste for Philly teachers? Did your English teacher make you mad or something?

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 21:58.

95,000 is probably from the published school budgets on the SDP's website. Per their budget training this amount is an average amount that includes benefits. It is not a salary figure. About 6 years ago, I noticed it jumped in one year from 69,000 to over 80,000. The increase most likely from the increase in health care cost. Remember health insurance is not deducted from salaries for teachers but the District must still pay for it. Perhaps the Affordable Care Act will help in this regards.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 07:12.

Why is that? 10+ years, two certifications (easy to get), and plus 60 credits (easy to get) brings you to a Senior Career Teacher and over $90K a year.

Submitted by mark (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 09:36.

+60 past a Master's degree. You're right, quite easy. Can be done in a month or two.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 09:01.

First, the "nonprofit" is a type of "business organization."

Second, the greatest "fiction" in our legal system is the term "nonprofit." Look at the salaries of those who "operate them."

Third, some charter schools are operated by for-profit businesses which use the charter schools as simply a conduit for sucking the blood from the public trough.

A case in point is Vahan Guregian, the poster boy for political corruption.

As to your other ridiculous remarks. The teachers in Philadelphia, due to Vallas's and Ackerman's "test preparation curriculum and pacing schedule," did not have the freedom to teach as they were taught to teach in college. They were told by non educators what to teach, when to teach it, and how to teach it. They were forced by "threat and intimidation" to teach scripted lessons, which of course, did not work.

Those teachers have no supportive services such as reading specialists, adequate numbers of nurses, etc. etc.

Fourth, you can point to no charter school which has higher test scores than any other similarly situated school. Many charter schools do an excellent job serving their particular students though, and many are operated for the right reasons and in the right manner. I have nothing but respect for our fine legitimate charter school founders and leaders.

Fifth, you could not even explain or define what "proficient" means in behavioral terms.

Sixth, all of those students in Masterman, Central, Bodine, GAMP, CAPA, etc, etc. were taught by regular public school teachers. Those schools in Philadelphia with a large segment of their student populations who are "low achieving" students, have such large numbers of struggling students simply beacause of the "academic segregation" and "demographic segregation" of the district's schools and its neighborhoods.

You, like so many non educators, have no basic concept or experiential understanding of what poverty does to children and how it affects their ability to learn.

I do not usually respond to trolls, but you have never made any statement ever that you could back up with any credible evidence or any thoughtful discussion of any evidence. Yet you are so quick to denigrate everyone else.

Among the ranks of those who actually do teach and lead real schools, you are known as merely "a teacher basher."

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:52.

Rich--Don't waste your time with him. I made him last week and have one of my attorneys contacting The Notebook about a particular remark--threat--he made to me. Either he's a nut or a troll but now I'm being redundant.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 14:55.

Agreed Joe. He is really giving us a clear picture of what sick people the "reformers" are. (Although I now just scroll past his comments as not worth my time.)

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 15:09.

Rich,

I have a few questions for you regarding what you refer to as Vallas's and Ackerman's "test preparation curriculum and pacing schedule." When I student taught in the District school, many of the teachers had positive things to say about the Planning and Scheduling Timelines that Vallas implemented. The new Common Core Planning and Scheduling Timelines (http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/c/curriculum/curriculum-supports/psts) provide much less structure than the Vallas PSTs. When you refer to the "test preparation curriculum and pacing schedule," are you referring to Everyday Math and Harcourt Trophies, or other curricula, e.g. Corrective Reading, Corrective Math, Reading Mastery, or Connecting Math Concepts? I ask because I don't consider Trophies and EM to be test-prep curricula.

When you say, "They were told by non educators what to teach, when to teach it, and how to teach it. They were forced by "threat and intimidation" to teach scripted lessons, which of course, did not work." Did this edict go from 440 to the principals and then to the teachers? I'd be interested in hearing more about the threat and intimidation to which you refer.

Thanks,

Education Grad Student

Submitted by Annoym. (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 16:37.

My response is only regarding high school: 2004-2005 school year 9 - 11 science (biology, chemistry, physical science (9th gr.), math (Alg 1, Geo, Alg II), English (1 - 3), and social studies (Soc Sci, US History, World History) were given a core curricula in two very large spiral binders. These were created by Kaplan with the Office of Curriculum. (African American History was added the next year but that was created by the District. Senior courses - Physics, Eng. 4, Pre Calc were done the following year.) One spiral binder included a daily lesson which while not a strict script ala Corrective Reading, did not allow for much variation. Lessons were packed - far too much to cover in a day. There was a 2nd spiral binder with "strategies." The Eng and math were suppose to be aligned with the PSSA. (The science PSSA was always generic - a "mish-mash" of science from earth sci to biology. Soc St was never tested.) The initial curricula from Kapaln was to be revised for 2005-2006 - the Planning and Scheduling Timeline was adjusted and some minor changes were made. That decision was made by the District - the District controlled what happend and Kaplan, the hired hand, did what they were told. (The head of Curriculum was C. Cannon; Thornton was the CAO; Ed Williams had also been around and retired.) We received yearly updated Planning and Scheduling Timelines - they basically changed the dates. Vallas introduced benchmark tests - first year included all subjects. Soc St was dropped after the first year and World Languages was added. More Planning and Scheduling Timelines were produced for ESOL, Arts, etc.

Ackerman used the same Planning and Scheduling Timelines. She introduced the scripted Corrective to the "empowerment" high schools in 2009-2010. Previous interventions were banned. All students in "empowerment" high schools were tested for corrective classes - huge mistake and a major example of Ackerman's "deficit" model about neighborhood high school students (and teachers). Each year the mandates for "empowerment" high schools changed. By 2010-2011 we had "honors" classes - students were placed based on 8th grade PSSA scores - not a valid way to track students. Only some students had corrective classes and "honors" were to get "Springboard" materials (from College Central).

This year there were Planning and Scheduling Timeline changes only for English and math courses ("count for AYP" tested subjects.) There are mixed reviews. This allows teachers more decision making on what to include but there are complaints. There are few people working in curriculum - no one with high school experience. (The lack of high school experience was also under Cannon - her core group were always elementary school and usually younger grades.)

Under Ackerman, walk through teams viewed the Planning and Scheduling Timelines as the "bible." Some checked to see if teachers were on the correct day. All lessons had to be direct instruction - you were either on the right step or not. First, teachers were given a color (red, yellow or green). That was stopped about mid year in 2011-2012. Some principals reacted louder than others. Remember, Ackerman honored, recognized and awarded sharp increase in test scores (e.g. Nixon/Wagner, Roosevelt /Ressler (Nixon gave her Wilson MS), Cayuga/ Cortez, ETC.) We heard stories and there was news coverage of Ackerman's August PSSA honorees. It was a lot like Atlanta except Ackerman didn't rent out a sports stadium.

Scores were questioned from the time of Vallas. I was at meetings where Strawberry Mansion's "excellence" was suspect - it became known as the example of a cheating factory. When Comm. Tech. had a huge increase in scores there were few who believed it was possible. Principals who wanted to climb apparently knew that was the way not only to a hefty "bonus" and more power. As a teacher, it meant more pressure and a lot of time wasted on Study Island, drilling Constructive Response, etc. People wanted a "magic bullet" to sharp increases in test scores. Apparently, the only "magic" was good old fashion cheating.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 18:15.

Hi. EGS. when Vallas was imposed upon the School District, he immediately eliminated the curriculum which was here when he arrived and he eliminated most of the programs which were designed to meet the needs of students in many schools. he hired textbook companies to create a new curriculum which was the initial implementation of "scripted lessons" and the pacing schedule. He even sent us scripted professional development which, as an assistant principal, I was required to read to the teachers. it was embarrassing. I actually did what I was told. I apologized to the teachers at Furness and promised them I would never do it again. It was embarrassing. The man and the people who imposed that ridiculousness had no concept of what teaching really entails. It was all structured for test preparation.

When Ackerman was here, that stuff worsened. I was at Mastbaum as an AP. That was another school with absolutely Great teachers. I was told by the principal to write up every teacher who was not exactly on the timelines, and if I did not, I would be written up. That is absurd. If a teacher teaches a lesson ar a concept and the students do not learn the concept, a good teacher finds another way to teach the concept. You may have to break it down and scaffold it in different manner.

Every student has their own learning style. Some learn in different ways. A good teacher adjusts instruction to meet the needs of his or her students in each class. Teacher tests are diagnostic instruments which inform instruction. Good teachers seize "teachable moments." Experienced teachers have many lessons in their bag of lessons which they can use at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.

Effective teachers know how to "think on their feet" and teach Socratically. Any well balanced instructional program includes project based learning tailored to meet the needs of students. A one size fits all curriculum has never been successful during my lifetime.

Instead of authentic growth of ability and achievement, you get artificially improved test
scores and reliance on stretching the boundaries of propriety in testing. Test scores can go up even though there is no improvement in achievement and test scores can stay the same even though the student has made remarkable gains in every area of achievement both cognitively and affectively.

The best judge of student growth is a well educated and experienced teacher, not any standardized test.

The book I really want to write is on the subject of how authentic growth in reading ability does happen, and how to nurture that growth. I promise you I will write that book.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 16:50.

$95,000? post us some links please because your anger is getting the better of you. What you are doing is lumping in the benefits of veteran teachers but benefits are not salaries and many teachers are not at the top of the scale.

Waiting patiently

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 20:30.

But amazingly charter operators seem to make a profit regardless. Vahan down in Chester has made 60 million over a decade at what is suppose to be a non-profit. Funny how they always find a way to make money.

There were for profits in Philly until people got wise to what rip offs they were. Remember Edison? They got a couple million to study taking over the Philly school district and came up with the conclusion that Edison should be running the whole thing. Big surprise. We saw what wonders they did down in Chester too.

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 09:48.

rich, despite your feelings about me, i respect the fact that you appear to make fair assessments of charters. i don't think you have ever worked in the private sector or you wouldn't have responded to 1 and 2 as you did. so i'll go right to three. you picked a charter in chester because you cannot name a private operator in philly. i'm no fan of the guy whose house is bigger than my school. but we're talking philly here and you don't have a name to throw out. has there been misdeeds by charter operators here? absolutely. have you ever seen them defended by the rest of the operators? no. contrast that with bad behavior of your colleagues. they are defended by the pft. on number 4, it is difficult to make apples for apples comparisons because of the way the district is carved up into neighborhood, citywide, and special admit schools. while some charters try to select beyond the legal bounds, many are doing great work in the neighborhood with the kids who walk through their doors. number 5, I can't and I'm not sure what you mean here. if you believe, like the post above you, that the teachers have little to do with outcomes, I disagree. That goes for a academic and behavioral outcomes. if you don't believe that, I've given you too much credit, now my favorite, 6: you, like so many public school teachers (i know you retired but you still think like one) continue to make the argument that the poor can't be educated with your persistent playing of the poverty card. their are people all across the country making significant progress with poor children. they have figured out that you start with high expectations and then it's a fight. with the kids, their parents, neighbors, the administration, politicians, with barack obama himself. this is not easy work and few will appreciate your success, but without that mentality you wind up providing evidence as to why poor children are a high cost, low results game. what you and your district friends think doesn't mean that much to me. frankly, events of the last 6 months have proved that nobody cares what they think. schools rise and fall on the quality and commitment of their teachers; professionals who always find a way to get it done. harry wong said that you can be fired from a job, but not from a profession. the job/wage/work-rule/work-hours orientation of most district teachers are killed their credibility. not my perceived bashing. now will you answer one question: will you support the moratorium?

Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:47.

You act like you are this caring, dedicated educator, yet you do not respect your readers enough to write in forms that are appropriate for public discourse.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:11.

@Reformer, PLEASE learn to write succintly and with some paragraphs so that the normal everyday teacher and observer can deciper your thoughts. TIA.

Submitted by Christa (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 20:22.

The language is all wrong surrounding children learning through their poverty. CHILDREN CAN AND SHOULD LEARN despite their lot in life. In Philadelphia however, students do not receive the necessary supports they require to get around their issues. The students in Philadelphia would benefit greatly from character education, peer mediation, group therapy and conflict resolution. There is absolutely NO TIME to teach those wonderful concepts in a regular public school in Philadelphia. The PFT and public school teachers in Philadelphia need to change the way they talk about students. WE need to be emphasizing the supports that our students need that sadly require money to make them happen. The PFT needs to be more specific about what teachers need to make our students successful. I invite you to come visit my school Mr. Reformer. If you stepped foot in a regular Philadelphia public school you might, just might get a flash of understanding for how public school teachers feel. But then again you could care less, because you spend most of your time on this site bad-mouthing us instead of helping to find a solution.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 10:35.

Reforner: I now work as an attorney at law in the "private sector." In my book, on the law and actual reasearch of the best practices of school governance and leadership, which you obviously have not read, explains the legal difference between all the different forms of organizational governance and the affect they have on "achievement" and "organizational proficiency."

I assure you I understand the importance of outstanding teachers and their relation to achievement. I have watched the exodous of hundreds of Great teachers from our schools because of the lack of professionalism in the way they were treated. I have actually dealt with many of their incompetent replacements.

But I also assure you that I understand the difference and importance of such things as class size, supportive services, meaningful curricula, and alternative teaching methodology.

I have actually taught disabled readers in class sizes of ten students, twenty students, and heterogeneously grouped students in English and Law in classes of 33 and 40 students. I have actually written curriculum designed to meet the needs of real life students and worked for many years providing teachers and and their principals professional development on basic concepts of reading pedagogy and strategies for its development.

I also led the original creation of one of our first "charters" ever in Philadelphia, which was the "Law Charter" back at University City High School in the early 1990's.

I would be very happy to have a "collegial discussion" with you, as I do with others, if you were to raise your level of conversation form "trollism" to that of "a professional collegial discussion."

I hold nothing against you personally, but everyone has noticed that you do little more than bash teachers and regular public schools.

I put my name on everything I write and back up everything I say with research or or a real life example.

I put my personal and professional integrity on the line every day.

I participate in these discussions because of my unyielding love of "the profession of teaching" and my learned "respect for teachers" and "school leaders" who I have worked with elbow to elbow for over 35 years now.

The vast majority of teachers and school leaders are outstanding individuals who have dedicated their lives to their profession and the schoolchildren of Philadelphia.

I hold them in the highest respect.

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 12:30.

rich, I figured out who you are and will personally contact you. geoff, if you want respectful discourse, tell your friends. the outright lies and unprofessional behavior they display doesn't warrant respect. btw, would you support a moratorium?

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:00.

You may e-mail me at rich@democracyineducation.com any time you like.

I have never withheld my identity and post my name for a reason. Many of my students, friends, colleagues and even the occasional adversaries usually refer to me simply as "Migliore."

(Do not worry I will hold your name in confidence.)

But to be honest, I have very few adversaries -- I prefer colleagues and friends and treat everyone with dignity and respect.

I believe we should all be on the same TEAM, and there was, a time when we were all on the same team. I submit, we need to go back to the future on that one.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 09:03.

Rich, you seem to speak from a sensible position, but are actually caught up in the propaganda of the day. You claim bashing of teachers, but routinely bash all charters. By doing this, you bash their leaders, teachers, students, and parents. The facts are that most charters in Philadelphia are small independent organizations. Several are led and staffed by former district employees who saw the futility of a system that disrespected teachers, students and parents. The funding formulas do not allow for true room for "profit", especially if the school provides a good building, qualified staff, technology and the other items needed to adequately run a school.

When you look at the Renaissance charters, there is a huge difference. These schools are selected by district leadership (not the community, process set out by law, or the school being taken over). This is the greatest threat to traditional public schools and charter schools, but people on this post are either ill informed or too lazy to look at the real issue. Follow the real money.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 11:11.

I have never ever bashed any charter school. There is absolutely nothing you can point to which is an example of bashing any charter school or any charter school organization.

In fact, I have always supported and praised those charter school founders and leaders who have founded charter schools for the right reasons and operate them for the right purposes.

I have always said that I have nothing but the highest respect for educators like Lawrence Jones, Naomi Booker, Dave Hardy and many others who have founded and operated what I call "true charter schools" because they started them pursuant to the public procedures defined by the Charter School Law and they did found those schools as independent schools for the right reasons.

Yes, I know about and understand that many charter founders did so because of their "futility of a system that disrespected teachers, students and parents." I have been battling that reality for years long before the passing of the Charter School Law and still do.

I lived through that era in the district and actually was part of the leadership team which created one of the first "charters" ever created in Philadelphia in the early 1990's, which was the "Law Charter" at University City High School which operated as a "school within a school." That was the original concept of a "charter school."

I have intensively studied and researched the charter school movement from its inception and written a book which includes the rationale of charter schools and their legal parameters. In it I explain the necessity to create school governance structures which "set the conditions" for collaborative endeavor to assure that the "best interests of the students" is, in reality, the guiding principle of a school's collective endeavor.

I have taken great care to explain the differences between what I call a "true charter school" and what are known as schools operated by "charter operators" and am presently researching and writing an article explaining the legal significance of those differences.

I am absolutely in favor of teacher led and community led schools and have argued for years that is the "best practice" of school governance and leadership.

I am absolutely in favor of operating all charter schools as "Independent Local Education Agencies" as long as they are indeed operated as true public schools with accountability to "the public."

I also absolutlely agree with you that there is a huge difference between a "true charter school" and a "renaissance charter school." That is why I am presently researching and writing about that issue.

We all should understand those differences as they affect all stakeholders in schools. They, as you correctly point out, do not help the true charter schools. They detract from true charter schools as well as regular public schools.

I apoligize if I was not clear about that. My bad. Thanks for your feeedback!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 11:06.

Please let everyone know when your research is available. This is the real attempt to takeover public education, but people have their eyes on the wrong problem. Pitting independent charters against individual schools and teachers is just keeping everyone divided.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 14:06.

Yes, I will. In the mean time, I suggest that you read the article in the Inky, noted in today's Notebook, about the NLRB taking jurisdiction over the union representation election at New Media Carter School. The NLRB board has jurisdiction over only private entities, not over public entities. The Chicago Charter school ruling of the NLRB, referenced in that article, held that the charter school was not a public entity. That ruling is huge in the public or private? debate. I will discuss the "Hawkins County test" used in that decision which was previously created by the US Supreme Court. Under the Hawkins County test, none of Pennsylvania's charter schools would be held to be public schools. Interesting stuff.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 14:06.

Yes, I will. In the mean time, I suggest that you read the article in the Inky, noted in today's Notebook, about the NLRB taking jurisdiction over the union representation election at New Media Carter School. The NLRB board has jurisdiction over only private entities, not over public entities. The Chicago Charter school ruling of the NLRB, referenced in that article, held that the charter school was not a public entity. That ruling is huge in the public or private? debate. I will discuss the "Hawkins County test" used in that decision which was previously created by the US Supreme Court. Under the Hawkins County test, none of Pennsylvania's charter schools would be held to be public schools. Interesting stuff.

Submitted by tom-104 on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 12:26.

I hope this will be part of your research Rich.

"Who is Eli Broad and why is he trying to destroy public education?"

http://www.defendpubliceducation.net/

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 13:48.

Yes, it is. Thanks to you! Your work is outstanding and so is your contribution to our community. I read many excellent articles which you point out to us.

Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:17.

First of all, it is Geoffrey. My friends are all first-class educators, not petulant little ingrates like yourself. You lack the courage to identify yourself, and are obviously incapable of writing like an adult. Stop being disrespectful to those of us who actually work with children.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:40.

The SRC has more than doubled per pupil spending since 2000. Inflation is up 30pct. There were layoffs and cuts last year?

How is this still not enough? There is some gross mismanagement in this system.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 13:54.

The real issue is the historical financial mismanagement of district finances. The real money makers are not charter operators, but rather big time contractors and political bedfellows who have been robbing the district blind for decades. When Hornbeck left, there was financial upheaval. The state pumped money into the district. When the SRC took over there was more money pumped in. When Vallas left, there was a $180 million deficit and money was pumped into the system. When Ackerman arrived, the budget was balanced then after a couple years there was another huge deficit. More money was pumped in via stimulus and the recent $300 million loan. Now, the system is in deficit again. In what real world business could this happen? It's the result of corruption and fiscal mismanagement that includes power brokers in all sectors, including union leadership that gets paid despite union strength and benefits are disappearing. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 15:30.

A Pox on all their houses and add charter operators to the take.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 17:10.

Well worth reading:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/private-firms-eyeing-prof_n_173...

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 14:00.

That's a great article...very disturbing.

EGS

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 15:59.

I believe the biggest offenders are the crooked pols because they have the clout to set up these "arrangements" for their cohorts. Is there anybody out there who disagrees that some politicians are getting paid by the charter folks? At this point, no thinking person should believe any of the dragonian numbers coming from the city or the state for that matter. What is certain is all labor better recognize the need for solidarity. The PFT let our custodial brethen hang out to dry and now, it's our turn to face the reaper in August. Anybody who thinks Hite and his minions are bluffing, will be very sorry over the next few months. The "Austerity Program" for urban America is coming to Philly and we better derail it or we'll all pay the price. Needless to say, as of now, it's only the defenseless poor who will be the focus but by natural extension, the privateers will try to foist their cancer on the suburbs too at a later time.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 01:27.

The SEIU wasn't "hung out to dry". The SEIU still manages to require 2 full time bus drivers costing $78k a year to run a full days route. So they are half as productive as bus drivers most everywhere else in the US. Still, they are paid way more.

The district could have saved $40-$50mm a year getting rid of this SEIU waste. Instead they got a $10mm a year concession from the SEIU. So SEIU still makes $30mm-$40mm more a year more than they should.

I am so so sick of city workers complaining about their lack of pay raises when these same workers refuse to do anything to improve their pathetic productivity. The union bosses fight to maintain a high headcount. This means they fight to make the city workforce more unproductive. Yet the city machine has given them raises anyway.

You unions have fought to keep the same number of city workers as back in 1960 before your high taxes and crummy obnoxious service quality drove 500k people out of the city. There is auterity now because you unions collectively have done a terrible job running the city for 50 years. You have bled the city taxpayers dry.

Then you blame "privateers" for the fact there is no money for city services! Delusional. You are the cancer.

Sorry to decent teachers (and the few city workers who aren't in the bottom decile of US productivity), who do tough job in Philly, but if want to be in solidarity with the slugs and thugs that control the rest of the city workforce then you deserve the harsh collective judgement of Philly's fed up taxpayers.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Mon, 04/01/2013 - 07:48.

"The trains must go through." You seem to have larger issues than the one we were discussing, comrade. Seriously, I agree there's enough blame to go around but privatizing is the least attractive and most destructive for the workforce. Unions are a buffer and without them, all workers would have fewer, if any, rights. Read the history of worker rights before unionization to get a clearer, less lopsided view of unions.

Submitted by reformer (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 18:10.

i want to formally apologize to anyone who may have found my posts hurtful or inflammatory. there is a line between zealous advocacy and hateful speech and i believe i crossed the line. shame on me for taking things too far. our true disagreements could never be addressed with me in a perpetually combative state. so no more for me. your regular targets can have your undivided attention again. next few months won't have much good news for anyone who reads this website. the present efforts to fix the financial house will bring cause pain for everyone. i expect the gloves off debate will continue on these pages, but i won't be joining-just reading. Happy Easter.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 21:43.

It's easier for reformers to be in a combative state, they rarely talk about actual students, curricula and the like.Rahm can't seriously address what's going on in his city so he resorts to cursing at the CTU President and saying that "25% of your kids will never amount to anythng." This is a Democratic mayor we're talking about here who has NO shame.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 09:43.

Way too late for that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 19:46.

@ Reformer- save the "apologies," you said just what you wanted to say, and now you're eaving. I cannot begin to tell you how typical this behavior is. The fight to preserve public ed will NEVER be over.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 20:22.

Occupy the Department of ED in DC.
APRIL 4-7. Check out the details on Diane Ravitch blog

Submitted by tom-104 on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 22:06.

Full details for Occupy DOE April 4 0 7 are here:

http://tinyurl.com/bo7ll8r

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 11:02.

There's a lot of support backing that, maybe we can have " The Hundred Man March ".

Submitted by tom-104 on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 11:24.

Occupy the DOE is having a march to the White House Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

http://unitedoptout.com/the-official-schedule-for-occupy-doe-2-0-the-bat...

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 13:53.

This is at least the third year in which the District has had to make budget cuts. I didn't have a chance to watch the SRC meeting on Thursday, but I want to know What is the District doing to address the STRUCTURAL reasons for the budget deficit? We all know that state aid has decreased since Corbett came into office. The Sequester is leading to cuts in Title I funds.

Now, How much do the following factors contribute to the deficit:

- Increase in the number of students receiving publicly-funded education, e.g. How many new students does the District have to pay for because of students leaving private schools for charter and public schools?

- Enrollment expansions at charter schools

- PSERS pension and retirement costs

With regard to charter school enrollment expansions, I understand that the District has been unsuccessful in trying to place caps on the charter school enrollments. Does the District have a legal obligation to live within its means? If the District can't afford more seats in charters, then why should the District be required to grant them? Does enrollment expansion in charters supersede all else?

I would also appreciate an in-depth article from the Notebook at some point about the budget and the costs driving the deficit. I don't have a background in finance and find it hard to interpret the District's budget, and I'm sure I'm not alone in finding it hard to interpret the District's budget.

Education Grad Student

Submitted by Education Undergrad Student (not verified) on Sun, 03/31/2013 - 15:10.

Ha ha ha: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/edu/3709203732.html

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