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Dueling plans for how to get the funds Hite says the District needs

By the Notebook on Aug 8, 2013 07:20 PM

by Holly Otterbein and Tom MacDonald, NewsWorks

[Updated, 8/2, noon] Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said he will not be able to open all city schools on time on a full-day schedule unless he is assured by the end of next week that he will get $50 million in promised new funding from the city.

Because of the School District's budget shortfall, he said he would either need to delay the Sept. 9 starting date for all schools, open just some of the city's 218 schools, or run on a half-day schedule.

"I am deeply frustrated," Hite said. "Our students are the most important part of this equation. ... They did not create these circumstances, yet they will be most impacted by any delay."

Hite's announcement set off a new round of disputes between Mayor Michael Nutter, who said he backed Hite's stance, and City Council President Darrell Clarke. Clarke, along with some other Council members, dislikes Nutter's recommended approach to finding the money.

If the School District gets a guarantee of the $50 million, Hite said that would enable him to bring back about 1,000 of the 3,800 employees laid off in June.

Assistant principals, guidance counselors, noontime aides, secretaries, and teachers were among those who received pink slips last June. So far, the District has only been able to restore about 286 secretaries and traveling music teachers.

"Fifty million dollars allows us to tell parents that when their child is walking through the hallways, eating lunch or at recess, an adult will be supervising them," Hite said. "It allows us to tell parents that counselors will be available to serve children in our largest and neediest schools."

Four District principals, who accompanied Hite during his press conference Thursday, also cautioned against opening schools without additional funding.

Linda Carroll, principal of Northeast High School, said the District would be putting her in an impossible situation with 3,000 students and a skeletal staff.

"Just imagine in any venue in America you have 3,000 teenagers and 1 adult," she said.

Sticking point in City Council

The $50 million in city funding is a key piece of Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to fill part of the School District's budget gap, which was originally a whopping $304 million.

Corbett and the Pennsylvania General Assembly permitted the city to extend a local 1 percent sales tax that was enacted as mid-recession "emergency" measure and was due to expire next budget year. The idea was that the city could borrow $50 million on behalf of the School District against future sales tax revenues this year, while $120 million of those revenues would be earmarked for the schools in future years.

Though thatt wasn't his first choice, Nutter said Thursday that he supports Corbett's sales-tax plan as the only way to give Hite the resources he needs when he needs them.

"Other ideas have been offered and we've explored them and certainly we will look at any idea," he said. "Unfortunately, they just don't work with the time allotted. ... I will settle for nothing less than our schools being opened safety and securely ... as they were scheduled on Sept. 9."

But City Council, which is on summer recess until Sept. 12, has not extended the sales tax so far.

The sticking point involves Philadelphia's pension crisis. Council President Clarke wants to split the sales tax revenues between the schools and the deeply underfunded city pension system. He criticized the Corbett plan, which he said was not crafted with sufficient Council input.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Comments (56)

Submitted by Joan Taylor on August 8, 2013 8:59 pm
Not really a significant breakthrough...comes across as theater. Nutter, Hite, and the SRC need to join forces against Corbett. As the SRC is Corbett's baby, I doubt this will happen. We remain in terrible shape.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 8:53 pm
Remind us how many people on the SRC Corbett appointed. Oh, that's right. Only two...the others were appointed by Democrats. Now I know why things are a mess.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 9:51 pm
Corbett appoints three SRC members. - 2 Commissioner and the SRC Chairman.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 10:00 pm
None of this disaster would have been possible without Mayor Nutter. He has aided and abetted the attack on public education since he became mayor. Corbett may have managed the funding crisis but Nutter, not only didn't fight it, he helped it come to this. His comment about labor in his press conference says it all about his ultimate goal. He hates with working class of this city. There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. They both do the bidding of the banks and the corporations against the workers. Mayor Nutter is their chief lackey.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 10:15 pm
City workers have been without a contract for four years.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:25 am
Three are appointed by our Republican Governor and two are appointed by our Democratic Mayor. The State is SUPPOSE to fund Public Schools. So this mess of financial poo-poo is the fault of REPUBLICANS
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 8, 2013 9:24 pm
Corbett is not the enemy at this point it is the elected Philadelphia City Council.
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Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 8, 2013 8:14 pm
I do not think that everyone is comprehending the enormity of the evil Clarke, Blackwell and the rest of the city Council are doing to the school district. Per the state bail out the 1% extra sales tax is extended and that money paid to the school district. That comes @$120 million a year give or take. Clark wants to take half of that (60 million) for his Drop payments and pension. Next year we don't get the 45 million Payment from the state. So we are going to be looking for another 60 to 70 million to fill the budget hole. This will reoccur every year. Without the full 1% sales tax we are never going to fill that hole. If the district takes the $50 million now and gives up $50 million in the future we are doomed. The city Council of Philadelphia is actively working to destroy the school district. they have very black hearts when it comes to children and they lie with little apparent shame.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 9:09 pm
no shame! They will look you in the eye and lie......chilling.
Submitted by Steam wallet hack (not verified) on August 8, 2013 11:09 pm
I have read so many articles on the topic of the blogger lovers but this paragraph is truly a pleasant article, keep it up.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 9:45 pm
If PFT takes a 13% cut....ALL 440 and City Hall take a 13% cut. 13 ONE= 13 ALL! Sharing the sacrifice...............
Submitted by Joan Taylor on August 8, 2013 10:00 pm
The shared sacrifice ought to extend to our corporate "leaders." I'd be happy to take a more modest cut in pay if the money funded smaller class size and higher quality interventions for our neediest kids, and if corporations honestly kicked in their fair share. I'm not willing to take a cut while the fat cats lick up more cream.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2013 11:09 pm
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 9, 2013 10:10 am
Joan, Joan, Joan-------------------Please don't volunteer to givebacks of any kind. This is orchestrated bull designed to bust the union !! Solidarity is the only way to keep the PFT alive. They're hoping for splintering and line crossers in thought and action. Be careful and by the way, the corporations and Wall Street are richer NOW than EVER before and politicians NEVER give back their own money, maybe the people's money but not theirs. Mutter et al are all in this together marching to the orders of The Koch Bros., ALEC and The Broad Foundation and others of that ilk. They're trying to KILL us off. There is no ying and yang, give and take. They TAKE and our only hope is NUMBERS as in SOLIDARITY.
Submitted by SMH (not verified) on August 9, 2013 11:38 am
Thank you Joe!! I was just about to say the same thing. Anyone who can think knows that it is no coincidence that this "crisis" is coming at the same time the PFT's contract is set to expire. Please keep educating everyone about the fact that corporations are richer now than ever before. I don't think the general public realizes this fact. Solidarity is the only way to beat this.
Submitted by Joan Taylor on August 9, 2013 12:22 pm
You're both right! I slapped myself across the face a few times and now I'm back in my right mind.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:01 pm
Joan--Corporations need to be slapped across the face several million times with each hand. Unions aren't perfect and there's a ying and yang between the corps and unions and has been for 75 years but the second unions are gone, we----the WORKERS-- is all dead meat.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 8:39 am
Good idea. Also, put ALL teachers back in the classroom. They were hired to TEACH not do administrative/office work! 440 should be scrutinizing all hired teacher to make sure they are in the classroom.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 5:23 pm
Yes. Outsource these do nothing positions, where "coordinators" walk around the halls holding empty folders while they collect teacher salaries. A temp service could coordinate better than the fools who can't handle being in a classroom.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:11 am
This is a sly way to try and intimidate the PFT. This is not about the children at all. They are hoping that the PFT will cave in to their demands. Why do people think that teachers do not have a life outside of the school? It is easy for outsiders to say just take a pay cut for the children, but it is because of the children that we can not. We have our own children that need to be provided for also. Teachers did not cause this confusion and teachers should not be held accountable for the District's inability to fund the schools.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:24 am
Don't Nutter and Clark realize how ridiculous they look - these are Phila. public schools. They are ultimately responsible. How much do city workers, which includes Nutter and Clark, pay toward their pension? 7.5 - 10% comes out of every teachers pay toward his/her pension. There is no DROP program. Start looking at the size of the city workforce and city pensions. Cut there, Then go to Harrisburg - go after the bloated Pennsylvania legislature.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:07 pm
WRONG---Don't cut ANYTHING that is currently on the books OR has been EARNED by the work force. If they want to start new policies then they have to go THROUGH the UNIONS and work it out through that process. They want to BREAK UNIONS which is nothing new for corporations but the elections of 2010 gave these slithering types a foothold--Tea Party--that they have seldom enjoyed before. Don't even remotely talk about givebacks of any kind by ANY WORKER. Keep your integrity and solidarity. They're hoping for people to turn on one another. RESIST and don't fall for their crap. They're NOT your friends. They're trying to KILL YOU--Learn it, Live it.
Submitted by linda (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:30 am
Question: if the $$$ is short for the public schools, then isn't the $$$ for the Charter schools since they receive $$$ from the SDP?.....or do they get to open and the chance to have even more students from the traditional public schools? Linda K.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 1:48 am
Charter school's allotment is based on the previous school year. So, for 2013-2014, they receive funding based on 2012-2013. Therefore, they will have more money than District public schools. In theory, they take a hit next year. That said, the charter companies like Mastery, Universal, Young Scholars,KIPP, etc. raise a lot of outside money. They get large grants - not only from the Philadelphia School "Partnership" but national ed "reform" granters. The charters that will be hurting in 2014-2015 are the smaller, neighborhood based schools. That is, unless the "Partnership" sends them money like Wissahickon, FACTS, etc. charters.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 1:20 am
Today was sad but comical. Instead of communicating and working things out, Hite gets on TV (with 4 principals who seem to think they exist in schools without teachers), Nutter gets on TV and then Clark gets on TV. Inept? Political posturing? You wonder why others laugh at Philly...
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 2:46 am
""I want to emphasize that our labor unions still play a huge role in shaping what our schools can look like this fall," Nutter said. "On the labor side, these are essentially the only adults at the table who so far have yet to financially contribute to a solution for this crisis. . . . It is time for the PFT to step up." Nutter can't even negotiate a contract with city unions. Nutter spent two weeks in St. Lucia. Nutter and his wife, thanks to Phila. Academies, have a combined income over $300,000 plus many perks. He has a lot of nerve telling PFT members to take a huge pay cut.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 3:13 am
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 8:48 am
There is NO MONEY to open schools with adequate staffing yet principals just received new laptops to rate teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 8:57 am
There is NO MONEY to adequately staff schools yet principals just received new laptops to rate teachers,
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 8:30 am
There is NO MONEY to adequately staff the schools yet principals just received new laptops to use to rate teachers.
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on August 9, 2013 9:56 am
The lie of "shared sacrifice": Labor is the only group who will pay personally. Politicians are "sacrificing" other people's money.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 9, 2013 10:27 am
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on August 9, 2013 12:11 pm
Yes, it is very" Fumoesque" - OPM and now a halfway house is a 9 bedroom mansion...
Submitted by B.E. Victim (not verified) on August 9, 2013 9:39 am
Who wants some Toll House Cookies? Every school should have a bake something, because dangling a child educational future in front of the media cameras and posting marches that block traffic hasn't done crap for the situation that SDP is currently in. 13 to 17% pay cut and layoffs aren't viable solutions either unless the higher ups at 440 also sacrifice 13 to 17% of their pay. So the City of Philadelphia never closed down, even without a union contract for its union workers for over 4years now (and counting)...That's a sacrifice right there. This is not a threat from our Superintendent, this is a statement of fact. Everything that was discussed by the SRC as a solution to their weary financial crisis has always been carried out. In 2011, they claimed that if they didn't receive money that they would lay off the entire Union 1201 by the end of December 2012. That is my union and everyone got a "cya later" letter in the mail. This year, 3800 good staff personnel and teachers or more are being broom out the door. Don't put all the blame on the Mayor, unless you want another tax increase. Nearly 3 Billion dollars was sent to the Philadelphia School District as a stimulus and it disappeared and now SDP is asking for a few million. Find out what happen.
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on August 9, 2013 11:42 am
It's not all blamed on the mayor - it's Corbett, Nutter and Hite all taking money from big business a d away from the kids and the unions.
Submitted by Nasir (not verified) on August 9, 2013 2:21 pm
Has Hite volunteered to give up 13% of his and other 440 administrators' salaries? Has that been mentioned anywhere? This is a serious question, not rhetorical. Just wondering. Meanwhile, Principal Wade looked like a thug flanking Hite. Its embarrassing.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 4:29 pm
I don't know about Hite or other newer non-rep employees, but most existing non-reps have already: taken % of salary reductions, furlough days, contribute to medical, and no raises for most for 3-4 years. And yes, it's been mentioned but often overlooked.. Other unions also have taken reductions of some sort.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 5:11 pm
Well, when you're making way more than 45k a year, working in administration and not digging into your own pocket to educate other people's children, you might be able to afford a pay cut. And I guarantee theirs were nowhere near 13%.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:03 pm
Don't forget Obama, our lying, let-down of a president. First he appoints his basketball buddy Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education, as uniquely UNQUALIFIED as Arne is for that job, then he forks over all fed money to Corbett without an accounting for how it would be distributed.
Submitted by BJ Murphy (not verified) on August 9, 2013 6:23 pm
Teachers need to make sacrifices, too. They must pay more for their healthcare, Older overpaid teachers who use the same workbooks and worksheets year after year (there is at least two in every building) must make way for tech-savvy teachers with energy and new ideas.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:21 pm
Sir: You are employed at what Charter School Company?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:22 pm
Most teachers don't mind paying a portion of their benefits. And all teachers do make sacrifices. Mine were to the tune of $1,000 in classroom supplies last year alone. So please, don't preach about what teachers aren't doing. The average teacher is paid $50k per year in Philadelphia. A 13% pay cut is huge. In addition, they too are paying taxes for public education. More thought, less judgment.
Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on August 10, 2013 10:20 am
BJ: You are obviously a young, tech savvy teacher working in a charter. You'll do your two year drive-by in the hood and then run around telling everyone what a saint you are. The best teachers that this district has ever had are those who put in at least 20 years, continuously study their own practices and don't blame students and parents for social ills. I am the most tenured teacher in my building. I have the best attendance, have helped bring in the most grant money and student-centered programming, participated in the most PD (not school district crap) yet you want me to take a pay cut because principals can't do their job? Your childish analysis reflects the lack of critical thinking skills that is all too prevalent among young, tech savvy teachers who cling to the mindless, soulless god of quantifiable data.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 11:13 am
Geoffrey, I know you are not religious, but "Amen!" from another teacher who, according to the poster, is apparently "over the hill."
Submitted by tom-104 on August 10, 2013 11:15 am
This is part of divide and conquer that ruling elites always use. This generation conflict is just another tactic that the gullible buy into.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:57 pm
Who is spewing this nonsense about how teachers owe it to the children of Philadelphia to give back their salaries to pay for their education. Why don't the parents owe it to the children of Philadelphia to give back their salaries? Why don't the politicians owe it to the children of Philadelphia to give back their salaries? The teachers are supposed to educate other people's children at their own expense, but nobody else bears any financial responsibility? Is this a joke? My local hospital can't afford to give out free medicine samples. Is it the doctors' responsibility to give back their salaries to make free samples available to the general public? What are we talking abut?!!! Bring on the hate.
Submitted by A Teacher (not verified) on August 9, 2013 8:13 pm
This is exactly the point I was making earlier. What about our own children? They don't need to eat or have their needs met!!! No one in any occupation is asked to sacrifice like this, but you expect teachers to just work for pebbles. The people who have never taught in a public school are the ones with the bright ideas about teachers sacrificing more. This is the only way you could fix your lips to make a statement like that.....Good point about the doctors....
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:16 pm
Mayor Nutter for starters. He said yesterday that it is time for PFT to step up". I say forget stepping...LET'S MARCH!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:19 pm
Most of you are home right now, not knowing if you will be call back.There are Foreman's in P.F.T that's working right now they didn't receive NOT one lay-off letter, working overtime everyday. I'm reading the notebook everyday and reading the comments about who should give the School District money to open up in September. How can the school district layoff teacher',nurses, support staff and not one Foreman ,Mr Jordon needs to found out why some members in P.F.T like maintenance foreman's didn't get a letter I guess they needs maintenance foreman's more then they need a teachers or nurses
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