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State budget secretary questions Clarke's idea on school funding

By the Notebook on Jul 17, 2013 04:55 PM

Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke

by Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook and Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks

The tug-of-war between the city and the state over how to keep the Philadelphia School District solvent heated up on Wednesday, with City Council President Darrell Clarke announcing that he is not on board with a key piece of the funding package worked out in Harrisburg -- dedicating $120 million to the schools in future years by extending a 1 percent local sales tax.

Instead, Clarke wants to direct just $70 million of the sales tax revenue to the schools and use the rest of it for debt service and the city's chronically underfunded pension system.

"If we don't fix our local pension problem, we're going to be looking at the School District of Philadelphia type of scenario for the city of Philadelphia," said Clarke. "We're going to have a real problem in a very, very foreseeable future."

He said that city leaders had been eyeing the sales tax as a potential solution to the pension crisis for years.

"What we don't want to do is simply sit silent while that component of something that we have been working on for a couple of years now essentially gets taken off the table," he said.

In order to make up for the lost funds, Clarke's plan counts on the state anteing up an extra $45 million annually in future years, perhaps by reinstating charter school reimbursements. That state budget line item, which once sent $110 million to Philadelphia, has been eliminated for the last two years.

Clarke is also hoping that the General Assembly will authorize a $2 tax on every pack of cigarettes in Philadelphia, which, he said, would generate $46 million for the schools this budget year and as much as $90 million later.

Clarke likely will face an uphill battle. Charles Zogby, Pennsylvania's budget director, immediately called it "troubling" that Clarke wants to send less than $120 million from the sales tax to the schools.

"We have an immediate crisis with the schools that's on us right now. The SRC has put in place a doomsday budget that just calls for skeletal staffing of schools," said Zogby. "Seems to me that when your house is burning, we ought to use the water to put the fire out, not save it for another day for some other crisis that may be looming down the road."

Advocates also have questions

Donna Cooper, executive director of the nonprofit Public Citizens for Children and Youth, said she gives Clarke credit for focusing on the pension problem. But she wants the schools to get the full $120 million from the sales tax.

"The citizens of Philadelphia have enormous concern for the schools, and the crisis is immediate," she said. "It seems to me the next thing we should do is work to get the state to give us the authority to find revenues to fix the pension, but not rob Peter to pay Paul at this point."

Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said the city needs to review the details of Clarke's plan. The Nutter administration supports sending $120 million to the schools from the sales tax.

With a $304 million budget gap, the School Reform Commission laid off more than 3,800 employees, about 20 percent of its workforce and is preparing to open schools in September without secretaries, counselors, support staff, or other key workers. It asked for $180 million in combined state and city funds and $133 million in labor concessions.

Zogby, a former state education secretary, helped put together Gov. Corbett's funding package for the District that comes up with about $127 million in additional city and state aid.

Here's the breakdown: Compared with the governor's original spending proposal for 2013-14, it includes an additional $2 million in basic education funding and a one-time $45 million state payment generated as a result of the federal government apparently forgiving a years-old debt. The rest is $50 million from a loan guaranteed against the future sales tax revenue, and enhanced city tax collections.

The state will not release the $45 million in extra aid until Corbett's education secretary concludes that the District has "begun implementation of reforms that will provide for the District's fiscal stability, educational improvement, and operational control," according to legislation authorizing the payment. Those "reforms" are expected to include major labor changes. In addition to cuts in salaries and benefits, the School Reform Commission wants to revise how teachers are assigned to schools and create a new compensation system based more on performance and less on longevity and degrees earned.

For the current budget year, Corbett's plan does not count on raising $120 million from the 1 percent sales tax because it is currently being used by the city.

Package 'isn't perfect,' but a 'good solution'

Zogby said that although the funding package "isn't perfect," it was the best that could be achieved given the political and budgetary climate in Harrisburg.

"There's simply not $120 million in the General Fund that could have been sent to Philadelphia," he said, "and given the need that the SRC outlined, the extension and redirection of the sales tax was, in our minds, the most achievable solution. ... It was maybe not a perfect solution, but it was a good solution and the only one that we were able to achieve."

As Zogby sees it, the District will not have a portion of the extra aid in hand until the teachers' contract, including labor changes satisfactory to Harrisburg, is signed. Negotiations are ongoing, but the contract doesn't expire until Aug. 31, just days before schools are scheduled to open.

 "The PFT contract would be the linchpin of whether the monies flow or not, both in terms of savings and the reforms initiated," he said.

As to whether the state will take up Clarke's suggestion to boost funding to the city schools by $45 million in future years, Zogby said he didn't see that as in the cards. Sending that kind of money to Philadelphia would involve increasing funds for school districts across the board. 

"To send Philadelphia $120 million would probably require half a billion because other members of the General Assembly would not want to see that kind of money go to Philadelphia and not have their school districts get increases as well," he said.

As for the cigarette tax, Zogby said that opposition to the authorizing legislation did not come from the governor's office, but from the state legislature.

"It was just a piece that we found we could not enact," he said. "And I'm not sure that I've seen anything in the landscape that's changed to suggest that that is gettable."

Corbett visited Philadelphia yesterday to celebrate the opening of a new trade and business office in the Chilean consulate. Asked afterwards about Philadelphia's schools, he said that he worked to find a solution "for the children" of the city.

The state took over the Philadelphia schools in 2001, during a prior financial crisis. The arrangement, he said, gives the state the obligation "to work closely with the city."

But, Corbett added, "while the state may have taken them over ... they still belong to the people of the city of Philadelphia. And we’re there to try to assist. And, you know, I’m not going to grade the effort at this point in time. But it is a project that everybody has to be involved in. We have to bring reform, we have to bring the cost of education to a point that is affordable for everybody."

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Comments (42)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 1:33 am
The state want total control of the PFT contract. Maybe the Gov. should sit at the table with his checkbook in hand. they won't because they want to only union bust. Corbett wait until 2014 and you become the first Gov to lose a 2nd term.
Submitted by ConcernedRoxParent (not verified) on July 18, 2013 8:58 am
Darrell Clarke wants to do what all the other members of city council and the state legislature do....rob Peter to pay Paul. Disgrace
Submitted by John Hill (not verified) on July 18, 2013 11:44 am
Frankly, I'm glad that Clarke is putting the brakes on here. The state is fundamentally disregarding its responsibility to provide basic education for all its citizens. Given the level of necessary resources that they have either cut or never adequately provided to begin with, it's ridiculous for the state to push through "a solution" that boils down to a permanent reduction in the state's share of the burden. And this is when they control the schools!!! Talk about taxation without representation. They create a mess and we pay for it. This might just be something to stomach if the level of funding was enough to provide safe schools and decent education. But it's not, and even in the best care scenario, this crisis will happen again. I'm not a big fan of sales tax in general since it's disproportionately a tax on the poor, but I'd certainly rather use that revenue to stave off future crisis (that usually leads to cuts in public services and deteriorating neighborhoods) than have it provide cover for the state's lethal irresponsibility with regards to its youth.
Submitted by lmm324 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:54 am
SDP should file for chapter 9.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:37 am
You don't know much about bankruptcy. They can meet all of their contractual and legal obligations. The thing is that includes either laying off 3,800 staff. Since the PFT contract is up they can also try to lower that. They will fail or lose many of their teachers but they will try because they think balancing the budget on the backs of teachers will help them in the long-term and don't relate their anti-teacher posturing to their retention problems.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:55 am
They should be allowed to, because then they would be able to restructure their $300 million debt (including having some forgiven) and the losses from the credit default swaps. They would be able to negotiate down some of those debts to outside contractors. These same contractors might be encouraged in the future to keep their charges reasonable. Filing for bankruptcy protection would affect their ability to borrow moving forward, but a school district should not be allowed to borrow anyway if it is not going to be allowed to declare bankruptcy. Unfortunately, they won't be able to declare bankruptcy. The case will be dismissed, as it was for Harrisburg, because the SDP doesn't have an inherent interest in its own existence, it is only an agent of the State.
Submitted by lmm324 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 2:02 pm
Ms. Cheng - Thank you. You beat me to a response back to anonymous.
Submitted by lmm324 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:08 pm
Speaking of chapter 9 .........
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 19, 2013 6:50 pm
Philly only has the proximity of NYC and DC to save it. The reasons given for leaving Detroit are all here as well: a corrupt (yes you City Council) government, high taxes, high insurance rates, higher crime, urban blight, fewer jobs, poor school system. Only the prestige of being on the NYC -DC corridor make the difference. So here's the breakdown of the change in population of Philadelphia County from 2000 to 2010 per U.S. Census. There's a net gain, but from certain age groups, not all: under 5: +2,892 (outright mistruth by the FMP stating a "lower birthrate") 5 to 9: -21,284 10 to 14: -22,086 15 to 19: +7,596 20 to 24: +29,108 25 to 29: +21,257 30 to 34: -59 35 to 39: -16,834 40 to 44: -14,753 45 to 49: +1,071 50 to 54: +14,369 55 to 59: +20,417 60 to 64: +15,175 Note the influx of those over 15 to under 30 (college kids?) and those over 45 to 64 (empty nesters?). Can these age groups continue to foot the ever growing bill of City pensions? Maybe so. We never heard what happened to the money the City is getting from its substantial property transfer tax -definitely families moving out, and older ones moving in make for a good income here.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:25 pm
It's a mess. If I were in Dr. Hite's position (which thankfully I never will be), I wouldn't have used the "bare bones"/"doomsday"scenario, I would've said simply, "We can't run." With all the conflicting interest groups, it certainly looks like it needs a judge to decide who should be giving what. It shouldn't fall as much on the shoulders of the teachers as they're asking it to. There are plenty of other interest groups/creditors that could chip in something as well. How about the health insurance providers? Why shouldn't they be asked to help out as well?
Submitted by Amen (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:16 am
Philadelphia contributed nothing to the bail out. Not a cigarette tax, drink tax and that fake "we we will try harder to collect taxes for non relatives of politicians" is bogus because they all got lots of relatives. Yet Darrell wants to take half the school funding to protect his DROP benefits. But maybe he is afraid that more money for schools will result in smarter citizens and smarter citizens in Philadelphia would turn out a council that refuses to end DROP. This is a disgraceful.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:04 am
Once again, Philadelphia School Dictatorship ("Partnership") is sending millions to charters - Mastery gets the mother load ($3.5 million), Boys Latin ($1.1 million), Frieire ($50,000) and FACTS (yes, connected to Helen Gym) ($40,000). NOT one District school - or course no neighborhood schools - is receiving funding. Inquirer - This is all part of Corbett's plan - privatize the District with the help of the Philadelphia School Dictatorship with the compliance of the SRC, Hite and Khin. If you oppose privatization, you can not take money from the Phila. School Dictatorship - it is blatantly hypocritical. Yes, so called progressives at Freire, FACTS charter, The Workshop, and SLA are complicit with the privatization of the School District.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:06 am
Freire Charter can in no way be considered progressive. They were drilling and killing kids with Corrective Reading and Math long before Ackerman's ridiculous adoption of those programs. They have a rigid three strikes and you are out policy for students. It does not matter what the strikes are for. I have seen students "expelled" (meaning pressuring the families to enroll in their neighborhood school) for excessive dress code violations. Students who perform below 70% are also pressured to transfer out. They are threatened that the child will have to repeat the entire school year if they have below a 70% in any class. They are told if they went to their neighborhood school, that same 70% would be considered a passing grade. I am not sure how anyone really goes about investigating these deceptive and hidden practices charter schools engage in to ensure they are able to produce high test scores without really having to do the heavy lifting of moving struggling students forward.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:02 am
Freire also "dumped" 14 seniors at the very end of the school year because they did not have enough credits to graduate. Guess where the students were sent in late June - yes, neighborhood high schools. How do charters get away with it???
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 2:47 pm
And how does that impact on graduation rates? Did those seniors count against Freire's graduation rate or the neighborhood school where those chidlren went?
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on July 18, 2013 4:30 pm
They were no longer Freire students - they became the neighborhood high schools' students. Mastery Thomas did the same thing last year - since they require "mastery," they "counsel out" students who don't have 76%. The senior was told go another year or return to your neighborhood school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:45 am
The best way to be a "high-performing school" is to kick out the low-performing kids.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 1:50 pm
Yes the Philadelphia School Partnership is sending millions to charters. But remember, these are philanthropic dollars, not taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers are routing billions of dollars to the School District. How's that working out? Your stridency is not matched by any positive alternative, just I suspect, a call for unbounded additional funds unlinked to outcomes. Also, if I'm not mistaken, funding of public school students enrolled in charter schools is at a lower per capita rate than non-charter schools. So the argument that charter schools deprive non-charter schools of funds is bogus. Charters do, however, require that public schools make necessary cost adjustments necessitated by lower enrollments, a management issue that seems to confound administrators and provide fodder for the union to demagog the issue. All that being said, charters may have cache in some quarters, but can fail as easily as non-charter schools if mismanaged. There are no silver bullets, just an array of competences - from incompetents to genuine heroes. Sad that so many seem unwilling to even attempt to distinguish between the two.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 3:43 pm
", if I'm not mistaken, funding of public school students enrolled in charter schools is at a lower per capita rate than non-charter schools. So the argument that charter schools deprive non-charter schools of funds is bogus. " Sorry but you're wrong, and awfully cavalier in your tone.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 5:32 pm
Cavalier but correct, and I don't have to resort to ad hominems to make my point. In 2006-07 charter schools received 20.7% less funding than their District counterparts. In Philadelphia the difference was 14.1%. The actual numbers are $11,661 per pupil for District students and $10,019 for charter school students. Additionally charters are often burdened with the additional expense of securing a building.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 7:52 pm
Ad hominems? It is what it is. Aww my heart bleeds they are "burdened" with addtional expenses. Let me explain sir- they are "burdened" with my tax money and I don't appreciate it. I don't know these managers, I don't agree with charter schools being under the public umbrella, and this privatizing and profit making at the expense of our public schools, it's kids and teachers sickens me. Any fool can post a link. don't bother yourself.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 8:58 pm
This "fool" posted a link to authenticate that you don't what you're talking about. Ineffective public schools, whether charters or otherwise, are "burdened" with my tax money, and I don't appreciate that either. Further, your conflating of charters with privatized schools exhibits willful ignorance at best. As to charter schools, they need to be cleaned up. There's money to be made by the unscrupulous. But who approves these charters? There are only victims here, and they are the children betrayed by the system - uninvolved parents, administrators who deep down find comfort in the status quo, a union that will sacrifice the last child to preserve a contract perq, a commonwealth that flat-out ignores its legal responsibility to educate all its children, and the great majority of teachers who sacrifice above and beyond in hopeless futility. And all you can do is sputter with an ideological rant. Spare me.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 8:37 pm
"And all you can do is sputter with an ideological rant. Spare me." Your verbosity and fanciful language doesn't really make your case whatever that may be. Sweetheart if this isn't an ideologoical battle, then please enlighten us as to what is is, okay? "a union that will sacrifice the last child to preserve a contract perq" Aah, if given enough time you fall right into line. Thanks for making this so easy.
Submitted by lmm324 (not verified) on July 18, 2013 9:40 pm
Ok. Anonymous, the per pupil spending in Pittsburgh Public Schools is $20,000 as compared to funding $13,000 per pupil for charter schools. Do you think this article is lying about the cost of charter schools? It's not even close. Charter schools educate kids lower than public schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 11:44 pm
Let's be clear is that the real point, how much spending they do in relation to public schools? The real issue as I see it is that public ed is being DISMANTLED in favor of God knows what, when that money could've gone into resources IN our traditional schools. Nah, the privatizers had their own plans which basically had nothing to do with education, curricula, or quality teachers. Ppl dwell on these issues, cost of this or that, or highstakes testing on and on when the real issue is WHY this is all being done. When they up the ante so drastically on testing it's being done for a reason, that reason being that the worse the children do the better chance that school is ripe for closure and takeover. Who cares if they educate kids at a lower cost, is cost the issue or it is a manufactured issue to get ppl to "face reality"? The "reality" was manufactured.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 19, 2013 8:42 am
It is not true that charter schools educate students at a lower cost than regular public schools, and a true accounting of where school district funds actually do go reveal that charter schools really do cost more money than regular public schools -- per student. Not calculated into the rubric is that the "per pupil expenditure" of a school district includes all of the expenditures of the district which do not go directly to students. That includes all of the administrative costs of the running a public school district, including the administrative costs to the school district which are caused by charter schools. Those figures are not calculated into the rubric of per student expenditures. When one looks at how little of the school district's money actually filters down to the students, charter schools actually, in the end, get more money per student than the regular public schools. Tom - 104 once posted a piece about how the school district's budget has "exploded" since the state takeover in 2002 and the proliferation of charter schools. It has not decreased the cost of education but increased the cost of education. Hey, I am all for charter schools created and run for the right reasons as stated in the Charter law and the original intent of charter schools, but for anyone to argue, as they now exist, that charter schools educate children better at less cost is not looking at all of the facts and all budgetary considerations. You see the big picture is what counts. So does how we calculate our statistics. Diane Ravitch, in my studied estimation, along with Larry Feinberg of the Keystone State Education Coalition, are the most credible authorities on that subject. of course, along with our very own T0m - 104.
Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on July 19, 2013 8:01 am
There are other costs which are assumed by the School District from transportation to sports. (A student at a charter - virtual or brick and mortar - may play on a team if their school does not offer the sport.) Under PA law, charter students are guaranteed transportation while School District students are not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 19, 2013 8:03 am
Thanks for that Rich. I used to be "all for" charter schools also, but they seem designed to be a self fulfilling prophesy of success at the expense of public schools. - Zaw
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 19, 2013 9:43 am
That's the sad thing. We should all be working together for our children and the common good. But it is obvious, we are not.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 19, 2013 9:30 am
You've got to be clear about the terms used. Charters are indeed not funded for capital expenses while the home district, here the SDP, is. The problem is that local funding is not allocated for separate categories as instruction or capital expenses, so in order to calculate what the home district should pay charter schools under its "wing", what the home district actually spends per child on instruction is used. So this is the recipe for "disaster" in the case of the SDP, because the SDP has been unable to adjust its structural capacity to match falling enrollment. In addition it has been spending more than it has been funded through borrowing. This means that charters are the beneficiaries of inflated payments which then further exacerbates the financial "hole" at the SDP. Also, as noted by a commenter, some expenses are being carried by the home district for charters, such as transportation and extracurricular activities as sports or band. This is a structural increase at taxpayer expense, even more here in Philly, as over half charter enrollment comes from private/parochial schools. Regardless of these problems, it is (nationally) the charters that are the first to pioneer blended learning (and successfully per Economist article: ). Here they (per witness at Phil Theatre Co.) were using their Title I money to actually enrich their students, while the SDP (per my eyewitness) used it for extra paperwork and bodies in suits. The management structure, even with the "for profit" (which the SDP has nicely hidden in their administration and opaque contracts much more cleverly) seems to work in enough cases to justify their existence.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on July 19, 2013 9:39 am
Sorry, the quotes should be on the expression, "recipe for disaster", not on the word "disaster" alone. I tend to borrow too many expressions. Apologies.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:53 am
'As Zogby sees it, the District will not have a portion of the extra aid in hand until the teachers' contract, including labor changes satisfactory to Harrisburg, is signed. Negotiations are ongoing, but the contract doesn't expire until August 31, just days before school is scheduled to open. "The PFT contract would be the linchpin of whether the monies flow or not, both in terms of savings and the reforms initiated," he said.' Do they have the money or not? Are they really getting away with holding students hostage while they using a financial crisis to bust the union? Next time I read one of these stories--in any paper-- I would like to see the part where Zogby or Hamer or Corbett give some kind of dollar amount of how much would be saved by eliminating seniority or other union rights. And an explanation that these people are NOT part of the negotiating team. This is a sleazy Scott Walker move. Lisa
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 3:44 pm
These conditions they put on the union to go backward in time are UNACCEPTABLE! I don't know of any profession where people take pay cuts. If one is you asked to contribute to healthcare that's a pay cut but a cut in salary is not happening. This barebones nonsense got a lot of people to retire which is just what they envisioned would happen.The SDP also saved money by not paying benefits to laid off people over the summer, so can someone calculate how much money has been saved that we haven't heard about? ? Seniority givebacks and lower salaries are NOT THE NEW NORM or bargaining chips just so that they can break the union. In this sense they are holding both students and and teachers hostage, and since when did funding ever have anything to do with these two things? DO NOT GIVE IN PFT, it will be the death of the union, and more than ever we live in a nation where unions are essential to employee well being. Union busting comes from the same ALEC folks who brought us the Stand Your Ground laws.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 10:49 am
So it the SDP goes all charter then where will the "less desirable" kids go? Linda K.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 12:33 pm
They will have nowhere to go. But that's okay for school reformers. Some charters will make sure they get the best applications by making it hard for the poor to apply. They will kick out the kids they don't want to military and reform charters. The worst charter schools in this all charter world will close and a new charter will open. That will be seen as progress all while educational outcomes for the poorest students fail to improve.
Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on July 18, 2013 12:35 pm
Zogby doesn't have a leg to stand on when he says that an increase to Philadelphia would have to result in an increase across the board. Didn't the legislature just carefully target increases to a few select districts?
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on July 18, 2013 12:25 pm

In the shell game that passes for politics in our city and state the leading players refuse to face up to the disaster that is looming on the horizon in the Fall.    What they have in common is a moral and political failure to recognize what our children need and deserve in the way of an education.    Their policies hurt all children but fall heaviest on families of color and poor people.  Their calls for shared sacrifice mask a capitulation to corporate elites who demand the evisceration of unions, privatization of schools, and transferring the costs of government to the backs of working people.    We must continue our resistance to these polices and the fight for fully and fairly funded schools.

from post on



Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 12:06 pm
What's the disaster, Ron. If all teachers work for free we'll have a huge budget surplus! ;-)
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on July 18, 2013 1:20 pm

That seems to be the spirit of the plan.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 4:08 pm
Their calls for shared sacrifice mask a capitulation to corporate elites who demand the evisceration of unions, privatization of schools, and transferring the costs of government to the backs of working people. We must continue our resistance to these polices and the fight for fully and fairly funded schools." AMEN this is it in a nutshell. We have nothing to give back nor should we be asked to so that others can PROFIT Any plan that says this all hinges on the PFT now is ludicrous. I'd stand my ground if a strike came to be, but a state takeover should mean that the state has a respsonsibilty. They not meeting it and it's getting worse. Why are they not accepting Medicaid expansion to make life easier for so many needy people and free up some money for education? The federal government pays a state 100% for the first year- take it Corbett like some other Republican governors have. WTH is your problem?
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2013 6:10 pm
Just listened to Chris Hedges who speaks eloquently about the need for resistance against the corportization of our world. He mentioned some of the reasons that citizens aren't rising up against this.I think PFT members and all concerned Philadelphians should listen to what he says and take it to heart. Listen and pass this link on...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 21, 2013 6:33 pm
Having worked for and around politicians for decades, I suspect that the union-busters are far more focused on personal animus than on macro-economics. For state Republicans, this seems all about payback for PSEA bullying and Democratic subservience. Charter schools are a convenient sop to rather flabby consciences, let alone intellects.

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