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Clarke's plan aims to raise $50M while getting District out of real estate business

By Paul Socolar on Aug 9, 2013 06:35 PM

City Council President Darrell Clarke responded Thursday to Superintendent William Hite's urgent plea for $50 million in aid from the city by laying out a new proposal for generating city funds for schools through the purchase and then sale of vacant District properties by the city.

Clarke came out in opposition to Mayor Nutter's plan to raise funds for the schools by borrowing against a proposed 1 percent city sales tax extension that has been authorized by the state legislature.

Mayor Nutter has said that the sales tax and borrowing plan is currently the only viable way to ensure a $50 million contribution to the District by next week's deadline. Clarke has argued that if the sales tax is extended, the additional revenues must be divided between the schools and the city's underfunded pension plans. He has also said that the sales tax is regressive and bad for the city. The mayor met with Clarke and other lawmakers today but did not reach a resolution on how to move forward.

The Notebook received answers from Council President Clarke's office to a series of questions about Clarke's new proposal.
 

How does the Council President propose to raise $50 million for the schools?

Dr. Hite asked for a guarantee from Council by Aug. 16 that $50 million is coming to the School District of Philadelphia. He has said repeatedly he does not care where the $50 million comes from. The Council President proposes to guarantee the $50 million by Aug. 16 by entering into an agreement to purchase and sell surplus District properties via the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID).

 

How would the properties to be purchased from the School District be determined and valued? 

The School District had already planned to sell surplus properties, and anticipated revenue of $28 million over five years (per its 5-Year Plan). The District does not have the staff or resources to dedicate to aggressively unloading surplus properties, however. We believe PAID can manage this process much more quickly and efficiently than the District, which would raise more than the District anticipated. There are a number of closed school buildings that have recently been reassessed by the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) and are valued at more than $150 million. City Council expects that guidance from the District, PAID, the administration and the community will be a part of this process.

 

Is there any estimate of how many properties would be involved?

The Council President’s office has identified 27 shuttered schools that have recently been assessed by OPA. Which properties are involved in this process will presumably be determined in concert with the District.

 

Does the plan also include selling tax liens?

Yes. Because property tax revenues are split between the City and the District, one way to quickly raise revenues for the schools is to purchase the District’s share of tax liens. This sends them funds up front while the Department of Revenue collects on these liens, as it does on the both the City’s and the District’s behalf.

 

Hite says they need a guarantee of the funds by next Friday; is that possible with this approach?

Yes.

 

What are the advantages of this approach, and why are you opposed to borrowing against the proposed sales tax increase?

This approach allows Council to send the guarantee of $50 million requested by Dr. Hite while Council, the administration, and state lawmakers continue discussions on the sales tax increase legislation – which must be amended regardless. The administration is seeking a change in language so the flow of funds goes first to debt service on borrowing against the sales tax, then to the schools, with the rest to go to the city.

Council President Clarke strongly believes that his 5-Year Plan both sends critical new dollars to the schools while putting the City of Philadelphia on sound fiscal footing by helping it pay down pension fund obligations. It is worth noting here that credit ratings agencies recently downgraded the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, citing “large and growing pension liabilities and moderate economic growth will challenge [Pennsylvania's] return to structural balance."

 

Some say the city needs to come up with more than $50 million for schools ... is that your goal?

This is what’s currently on the table to fill the District’s $304 million deficit (the emergency ask) in Fiscal Year 2014: $78 million from the city (out of requested $60 million), less than $2 million from Harrisburg (out of requested $120 million), $45 million from the federal government (no ask), and TBD from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (more than $100 million). Council President Clarke has worked all summer to help the District fill its structural deficit, and he has no plans to rest until it does.

 

What steps are you taking to get City Council and the mayor on the same page about how to move forward?

Council President Clarke will continue to work with his colleagues on Council, the mayor, and state lawmakers toward a resolution on the schools funding crisis.

 

Holly Otterbein of NewsWorks contributed reporting.

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Comments (134)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:40 pm
Darryl Clark is trying to steal half the money which the Republican governor has allocated to the school district. Corbett is not our friend. Darryl Clark is the mortal enemy of schoolchildren in Philadelphia.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 9, 2013 7:11 pm
This is a made up plan by a man determined to steal money meant for school kids pursuant to a plan by a Republican Governor who everyone says in anti-education. It appears the Corbett is way more caring and sincere toward Philadelphia School Children than Clarke and the the band of thieves at city council. Guaranteeing their DROP payments is priority #1 with this crew.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 9, 2013 11:29 pm
Poogie - I'm glad you can see through the smoke and mirrors. I can't help but think of the $500 million owed in back taxes. All the city is doing here is turning owed bills over to a collections agency. Shouldn't the city have been doing this in the first place? Makes you wonder. And I agree that the goal is to get more money for the city to funnel over to the pension fund.
Submitted by Joan Taylor on August 9, 2013 8:09 pm
Essentially this means I should more than tithe my gross earnings so that Council members can double up on their pensions? I don't think so.
Submitted by Zaw (not verified) on August 9, 2013 10:27 pm
How obvious can the guy be? Take the hint. Clarke wants to get "PAID". It's right in front of our noses. As soon as Clarke gets "PAID" the schools will get the funding they need.
Submitted by Valerie (not verified) on August 10, 2013 2:29 am
I am so worried about next year. I am a teacher in a school receiving students from a school that was closed. Not only am I utterly stressed about having 34 First graders on roll, but also getting a pay/benefits cut. I've worked so hard the past 12 years of my life trying to honestly do the best work I possibly can, funding a well equipped class that can achieve growth and a love for learning. For what? I've never felt as disillusioned, sad, anxious and depressed about the future of my profession. Never. I never thought I would feel this way. I loved my job, now it just feels like yet another issue, a constant concern. I hate this. Why is education becoming such a drag? How sad is the thought of a intellect-less society? Why education continues to be an afterthought? Why are the people who have the greatest need the ones who have to continue to make the greatest sacrifices? Why isn't anyone asking about a typical day for a teacher ? Why isn't anyone asking about a typical day for a student? The student-teacher collaboration is hard work, but most of us make it work year after year. How this gets done will reflect our worth, which in true sense, is priceless. Is it the goal of education to fulfill a requirement or prepare the next generation for the many challenges they'll face? Wow, it it possible that arrogance and selfishness will prevail? Are we walking blindfolded next to the precipice? Citizens of Philadelphia, uncover your eyes, such fall will surely be fatal.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 3:16 am
Clarke isn't writing blank checks to the SDP. The council will not be doing that any further. I agree with him. Schools are the States responsibility. His priority is underfunded city pensions. I'm a strong union, PFT member and I believe more in Clarke than I do in Nutter & Corbett any day of the week.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:07 am
City workers need to contribute more to their pensions. Currently it is 4 - 5%. This is for teachers through PSERS New members electing Class T-E: The base member contribution rate is 7.50% with “shared risk” contribution levels that may fluctuate between 7.50% and 9.50%. New members electing Class T-F: The base member contribution rate is 10.3% (base rate) with “shared risk” contribution levels that may fluctuate between 10.30% and 12.30%. Remember, city workers are also eligible for DROP. This is a huge pay check - easily $200,000 - $500,000. (Yes, teachers currently get paid for 1/4 of their sick days and all personal days accumulated when they retire. This has saved the School District a lot of money on subs. Now, Hite wants to get rid of it. DROP has nothing to do with accumulated sick/personal days.)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:32 am
The city is not doing its part. Out of 100 of the largest cities in the country, the city contribution average is 46%. The City of Philadelphia only kicks in 30%, putting it near the bottom of the pack. No wonder why legislators are tired of bailing out a city that creates its own problems and DEMANDS more help.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:47 am
Well. The thread last week on this blog was an indictment of the city not funding SDP. So much for "it takes a village".
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 10:22 am
Start by cutting City Council. How many people need to be in City Council? How much staffing? All the offices? Then look for other fat. How many people work under the Mayor?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 2:33 pm
Welcome to the real world, hun. If you're so depressed, go see a psychiatrist while you still have 100% taxpayer funded healthcare. That won't last. In the future, you will have to pay for a portion of it like everyone else.
Submitted by Anonymous on August 10, 2013 3:37 pm
Teachers pay taxes too, btw.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 3:00 pm

And now we have taxpayer funded private businesses known as "charter operated schools" owned and operated by private corporations. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:00 am

Hey Bud, you seem angry. A little counseling might help you a bit, yourself. .

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 3:16 pm
Valerie, I feel the exact same way! I have never felt so disillusioned, jaded, or used. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:10 pm
Valerie, Please work this into an editorial and send it to the Inquirer or the Daily News.
Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:02 pm
Valerie, Please work this into an editorial and send it to the Inquirer or the Daily News.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:06 am
I work in the private sector and I do not get paid for unused sick days. We shouldn't even be paying those out in the first place. Sick days are for when you are sick and shouldn't be abused nor looked at as a cash cow by an employee
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:39 am
under normal circumstances, your position would make sense. However, Philly teachers are not permitted to use their sick days. our 1st disciplinary action comes after our 4th sick day. So, as an example--i miss one say for my husband's surgery, took one day because I had the flu, one day take my kid to the doctor for strep throat. The next time any one of us got sick, I would get a letter from my principal telling me that I am neglecting my duties and that I must attend a conference with her to explain my poor attendance. This continues to build so that if someone continued to use their sick days that year or had multiple years with warnings, they are "suspended" from work, meaning they give back a number of days pay. It doesn't matter how many doctor's notes you have to document where you were--there is no excuse. I know a colleague who faced suspension for taking off days for her own breast cancer treatments & follow ups because no one told her she had to fill out FMLA forms. She had missed a total of 8 days, including one for a child's illness, and had doctors notes for each one! A couple years ago, I received a letter from 440 over the summer informing me that I had missed ONE day for the previous school year and I should try for perfect attendance the following year because it was important to the functioning of my school. I'm glad they haven't continued to waste postage on letters like this, but it was still incredibly demeaning.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:56 pm
Those letters mean very little. It used to be seven days and you'd get a letter, then 5, now four ,and in some schools I got none. If you take more than 3 consecutive sick days for an illess (that you need a note for) it counts as one sick day. I suggest that people stop nitpicking over things like this, it won't generate much money. Notice how we are not talking about the state anymore and their picayune contribution? What they want is for PFT members to squabble over nonsensical things, be at odds. and be desperate enough to settle for anything. Heck they say, pay for your own healthcare, what's wrong with larger classes, and take a pay cut while you're at it. Well don't all professionals work that way? NO they do not. If the union caves now they will cease to exist.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:37 pm
If you work in the private sector and you don't get compensated for your sick days you should look for a better job with a decent benefits package. My guess is you should have paid more attention to your teachers in school and you wouldn't be in such a crappy job situation.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:01 pm
Actually I hold multiple advanced degrees and probably make exponentially more than you do. However just a thought maybe the purpose of sick days is for in case you get sick.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:44 pm
You probably are right so we both agree that Philly teachers don't make enough. Since your salary is far more superior then mine do you think you could donate 13% of your salary to the Philly elementary school of your choice? Also could to contribute another 13% to the Philly highschool of your choice as well? I know that you already pay taxes but we are in a funding crisis after all. Remember its a shared sacrifice.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 6:19 pm
No we both don't agree. I think philly teachers make plenty and a 13% pay cut is fortunately/unfortunately is what's needed to keep the schools running
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 6:29 pm
I DON'T know what YOU do for a living. How dare you say that teachers make plenty? Nowhere in our contracts does it say that we have to spend thousands of dollars to buy supplies for our classrooms, books and pens for our students that parents cannot afford to buy. I don't make a lot of money. My day starts at 8 and ends at 11 pm. The work that I do as a teacher at home is done for free. If you were to work in an office, would you be required to buy your copy paper, ink, pens and other materials in order to do your job? I think not! Yet, have to give up part of your salary, and STILL pay for the things that your job does not supply? I doubt it. A teacher making $40 k a year, working 10 hours a day, without overtime doing paperwork, lesson planning and calling parents on their own phone lines does not even make 16 dollars an hour. You call that great money? I defy you to support a family of four making 16 dollars an hour, plus buy these material and give an exorbitant amount of your time to children that are not your own. Next you'll be complaining as to why so many people are collecting food stamps. Do me a favor before you spew anymore ilk about teachers, BUCK UP, or SHUT UP.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 8:39 am
Amen, I am at work at 6:30am often don't leave until an hour after school closes, I come home, work some more on school related business, I buy my own supplies, I supply my students with the things that their parents should provide but often can't afford to supply, I make phone calls to parents, I do my lesson planning, I write IEP'S at home because there is not time to do them at school. What more would you non teachers, who don't have a clue as to what is involved have me do? And let's not talk about the family obligations that I often neglect to do because I am too tired. Teachers deserve to make a decent salary because they end up giving most of it back to the students that they teach!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 6:27 pm
This year 13% next year 5%? If we accept a pay cut it'll open up the door to arbitrary pay cuts. We have a contract, a collective bargaining agreement that is legally binding. I'm not working longer hours for less pay. I really think that people are expecting Philly teachers just to sit back & accept this bs. Out of principle I would leave the SDP in a heartbeat if the 13% pay cut is imposed. There are a lot of school districts in the country who actually respect national board certified teachers. The reality is if you can work in Philadelphia you can work anywhere. Chester- Upland, William Penn, Southeast Delco, Coatesville and numerous other districts are hiring now but the catch 22 would mean paying back benefits paid throughout the summer. Mark my words and watch the mass exodus come November & December.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:27 pm
I totally agree and a lot of teachers did retire and resign. Dr. HIte- HOW MUCH WAS SAVED by not paying benefits to newly retired and laid off teachers? Why can't we get a figure on this and get an accounting for where that money is to go?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:04 pm
Your contract expires August 31st. Everything is on the negotiating table once it expires.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:46 pm
As with all binding arbitration the last contract is still enforced and extended until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. That's basic contract law Einstein.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:34 pm
Correct, why would PFT take a cut when doing nothing will extend the current contract like Neshaminy did for years. There will be no deal...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:58 pm
Bingo and this is not Wisconsin by no means at all!!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:03 pm
Because the SRC has the authority to cancel the contract and impose pay cuts. That is exactly what they will do.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:42 pm
I don't think they'd do that, they have a RIOT in this city.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:56 pm
Is there a law that mandates binding arbitration?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:56 pm
Including a massive strike which can shut everything down. You can't negotiate with people who are determined to undermine your very existence. I have never seen anyone take a pay cut and I've been with this school district for over 35 years. We'll see,and and this acting like there is no money anywhere isn't fooling most of us.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 8:07 am
I could work as a secretary and make more money than I would make with a 13% pay cut. I have before. I would again.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:42 am
Just asking what is plenty?.... Linda K.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:28 pm
The District cannot attract and retain teachers as it is so if one expects teachers to "give back" salary they already "earned", you won't have anyone teaching here. Trying to replace 10,000 teachers is impossible. No parent will allow "uncertified" scabs to teach their children if TFA or non-experienced teachers try and fill a huge void. I agree that teachers will have to start paying into their healthcare which will happen as everybody even federal employees pay into healthcare. I want the SRC to use the ACT 46 and takeover and void the contract. I say this because that is the only way the PA State Supreme Court will hear arguments as to the constitutionality of ACT 46. Notice the SRC won't because they don't want to lose when the Courts say ACT 46 is unconstitutional. In addition, it's obvious you have a hostile demeanor towards teachers. You could become one and see how long you last before casting judgment.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:12 pm
I agree with you on this.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:26 pm
You have brought up a very important legal point. For everyone who thinks that the SRC can impose contract terms, I would think twice about that. It has been my legal opinion for a few years now that Act 46 is "unconstitutional on it s face" because it attempts to take away constitutional rights of a select group of citizens. Not only teachers, but parents, students and taxpayers, too. If the SRC does try to impose terms on the teachers, it would then arguably make Act 46 "unconstitutional as applied" and would make a constitutional challenge "ripe." I would advise though that the best forum to litigate that issue would probably be through federal courts rather than state courts. As an attorney, I find all of this fascinating. These really are "historic times" and everyone should understand that. Everyone's rights are in play. As another point, there is no language in Act 46 which allows the SRC to breach a contract it negotiated, and there is no language in Act 46 which allows the SRC to impose terms once its own contract with the teachers has expired. Like everything else the state has legislated in the past decade, Act 46 is yet another very poorly written law -- and is very "constitutionally infirm." You must be a very astute person with at least some sort of a legal background.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:52 pm
Your bring up very important legal issues including the questionable theory of imposing contract terms. However, once the current contract expires nothing will prevent the district from using the economic situation in their negotiating tactics. They are within their right to play hardball just like the pft can as well.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:17 pm
I don't have a legal background. I'm an educator a recently displaced Head Start teacher but I knew from the start that Act 46 could be challenged & you are so right about pursuing this on the federal level. Thanks for your legal expertise and insight.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:29 pm
Hi Rich, I brought up the topic. I work for the federal government. I have family that are teachers. Maybe you can answer this---Do you believe Jordan and the PFT Attorneys may pursue through the federal courts? Do you think Jordan may cave in to the SRC? I am interested to see what takes place over the next few weeks. Also, I think they need to worry about more than $50 million dollars. No one wants to go through this every year scraping the barrel for money. They need a long term solution. Sometimes I wonder if the SRC purposely will not impose contract terms because they know they will lose.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 11, 2013 3:46 pm
That will take a little bit to explain so, if you don't mind, may I give you a thoughtful answer a while later? They are really good questions and I do enjoy discussing the issues that are so important to us all.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 4:03 pm
Hi Rich, How can I contact you with more personal questions qith my lay off?
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 11, 2013 8:22 pm
Hi: You may contact me at rich@democracyineducation.com.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:48 pm
There is a chance the PFT attorneys may opt to challenge Act 46 through the federal courts. They went to federal court to defend Hope Moffet. In her case, the PFT filed a First Amendment retaliation claim in federal district court. The SRC settled the case right away after a mediation by a magistrate judge, A year ago, the federal district court ordered Corbett to pay up for Chester-Upland's shortfall. However, there are several reasons why they may opt for state court. In the past they usually got favorable injunctions from the state courts to keep "the status quo ante" until contracts were agreed upon. The School Code provides a complex legal procedure to move the bargaining along without a strike. That process includes non binding arbitration. The problem is that the SRC will try to bypass that process and invoke what they believe to be special powers to try to assert a right to dictate. As soon as they do, constitutional arguments will be raised. Those constitutional claims can be litigated in state court, too. But the same case can't be litigated at both the federal and state level at the same time. They may be able to pursue both avenues if the legal issues are different. Deborah Willig and Ralph Teti are very smart attorneys with a wealth of experience. I assure you they will have a legal strategy. If the SRC were wise, they would just bargain in good faith. If they try to impose terms, they will lose in the end,. It will cause turmoil in the district that we have never seen before. The negative effects will last for years. There is no wisdom in trying to ram contract terms down anyone's throat. It just creates hostility.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:13 pm
Thanks Rich!! Very informative. It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on August 11, 2013 4:18 pm
Rich, As a nurse I have always known that I don't want to be the "interesting" patient. As a SDP employee, I would very much prefer not to be living during these "fascinating" and "historic" times. That being the case, I am grateful for your professional input on the Notebook. My hope is that before we lose this generation of students some of these constitutionally infirm laws will be declared what I believe they are- unconstitutional. In the mean time, everyone who cares about the future of this generation should be fighting back with unrelenting fervor. Hope to see crowds overflowing into the streets tomorrow evening at Mother Bethel Church. Thanks again Rich. Solidarity, Eileen Duffey
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 11, 2013 9:38 pm
Yes, you are right there. They are also excruciating times for everyone who really cares about the schoolchildren of Philadelphia, our school community and the profession of education. Eileen, I am just like you. I do what I do because I am so sickened by what I have seen our district turn into. I have always loved my job in the district, first being a teacher and Reading program coordinator, and then being a high school administrator. It really was a fulfilling profession and was so personally rewarding as I always felt I was doing something important for my students and my colleagues. I have witnessed the destruction of our district in just about every way including morally and ethically. Prior to the last decade, all we ever argued about was how to teach the kids better, support them better, and of course, whose subject is more important to their intellectual development. Now what we talk about most is who is going to get power and control of our schools, and of course, profit. All of the players are tripping over themselves to get in position to capitalize off of the misfortune of our children, teachers and principals. It is as you say, painful to watch.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:55 am
One of the simplest and most important statements to date: "Prior to the last decade, all we ever argued about was how to teach the kids better, support them better, and of course, whose subject is more important to their intellectual development. Now what we talk about most is who is going to get power and control of our schools, and of course, profit." >>Rich Therefore, to those who DARE to pose the question "why don't you put the kids first," it's because that's the way this whole sad debacle was engineered by outside parties.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 10:32 am
Void the contract? Then what?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:07 pm
You're talking to a public sector union member. Sick day aren't for being sick. They are given to them as a bonus from corrupt politicians pandering for votes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 11:36 am
Actually a person's illness is not the business of the general public We follow a contract forged between the PFT and the SDP. Your multiple advanced degrees shouldl enable you to comprehend that simple concept..
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 6:36 pm
ONCE AGAIN- we are not the private sector, and don't strive to be like them. Both veteran teachers and new teachers need *some* kind of incentive to work in such conditions. You don't have to understand it, we do. Let me assure you that one quarter of sick days is not a lot of money.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:54 pm
normally, I would agree with your logic--a sick day is for illness and that is that. Teacher in Philly aren't even really allowed to use our sick days for illnesses-we are subject to discipline for doing so, even with doctors notes. Seven or more days in a year can result in suspension (or giving back a couple of day's pay). I've known a number of colleagues in that position-one how faced suspension for missing 6 times for breast cancer treatments--all documented and twice for a child's illness. Another who faced serious discipline for pregnancy related illness. Again, all documented. Doctors notes are not an excuse and will not prevent a suspension. Only an approved FMLA application for one ongoing chronic illness can remove the threat of suspension, and unsatisfactory personnel file documentation. A few years ago I even received a letter from the 440 administration informing me that I missed ONE day in the previous year and that I should try for perfect attendance since my absence was detrimental to my school. Honestly, i would rather go in sick than deal with the aftermath of a substitute with no control. However, the original intent of paying back sick days was to save on paying subs by paying teachers a small fraction of the daily rate (1/4) for leftover days upon leaving the district. This is the incentive for not simply using sick days because they are there & will disappear. (as my friends and family in the corporate world sometimes do) when just feeling not great or needing a day off. It isn't really a bad tradeoff in terms of cost for the district.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 8:08 am
Thank you for writing this because it cleared up some thoughts that I had about sick time, although I don't abuse my sick time. Last year, the day before school opened for the students, I became ill and ended up having to have a mild surgical procedure completed. I was out for five days, returned with a doctor's note. I gave a copy to principal, who told me that they didn't want it, so I gave it to the secretary who filed it in my personnel file. I was out one more day later on in the school year for illness. I was never spoken to my administration about my absences. So, based on what has been written, even if you are out legitimately, and return with a doctors note, you can still face disciplinary action? That just doesn't seem right and I wonder if anyone has sued the district for this practice and won?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:58 am
You can not be excused for a set of different illnesses, all documented with doctors notes--ex-you get the flu, your husband has surgery and a couple of appointments about it, and each of your two children gets sick once or twice= discipline As long as they are all ONE illness (eg you have cancer or a child with a severe chronic illness) you can apply for FMLA protection. (family medical leave act). This allows you to group all absences related to that illness as one "incident" for discipline purposes. The problem arises when people don't know that they can apply for FMLA or don't think they need to, and by the time the union is involved the discipline has escalated. When challenged, principals will usually drop these and long as the staff member eventually completes FMLA forms. Principals also have SOME flexibility in whether they choose to write people up in the first place. Some think it is more fair to write up everyone immediately with no consideration for the absence reason and others will use their judgement and think, i know she has cancer, "I will let this go & tell her to fill out FMLA forms." It also varies with how much the regional superintendent puts on them to write people up. in terms of a lawsuit, the union usually cites an arbitration from (i think) 1986 that basically says even if you have sick days available, your employer has the right to expect you not to miss work.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 11:53 am
I have seen this before where a principal won't accept a note, which I find horrendous and I'm glad the sec'y agreed to put it in you files. For some reason (probably because they are being given more and more power) they consider themselves to be comparable to the US Attorney General. IMO this is what the union is for. Someoby should be talking to principals about not accepting gnotes that are requiered by the contract. From what I know they will only use absences if you are in some serious scuffle or other down tthe line.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 11, 2013 9:53 am
I remember when Paul Vallas sent an open reprimand to principals for doing just this- writing teachers up for having cancer. Gave a warning to ALL principals basically saying "don't you dare even think about writing teachers up for having cancer". It is unfortunate that there is even one principal evil enough to write teachers up for having cancer, let alone many.
Submitted by J.J. McHabe (not verified) on August 11, 2013 9:56 am
EVERYONE with one or more absence got the nasty gram from 440 about attendance. It was mailed to our homes. 440 later back tracked and apologized. Hell must surely have a lot of rooms already reserved for SDP employees. "For The Children" my rear end.
Submitted by tom-104 on August 10, 2013 9:01 am
When the house of cards that is corporate education reform collapses, where will the students in charters go if these building are sold? Also, since the School District has let its infrastructure deteriorate for the ten years (except for a capital building program under Vallas) since the state take over, what guarantee is there that the District would get the one time infusion of money from the buildings of closed schools Clark is hoping for. This seems to be a further descent into delusion. There is already evidence of massive corruption in the charter sector. Look at this article in this week's City Paper: "Indictments Are Expected in School Probe, But No Sign of Reform" Here is an excerpt: *** "Shulick was seeking to expand his operation to other states, such as Maryland, a source says. But the spending caught up with him first. By 2012, Shulick was shifting money out of his and his wife’s 401(k) just to make the school payroll.  “We weren’t getting our checks on time,” says a former teacher who is suing DVHS for back wages. “They were stealing,” she says. At the end, there wasn’t much left to steal. In June 2012, days before the District terminated its contract, an ominous line was entered in the school’s financial logs: “$25,000 - Billing - DOJ Investigation.” That represented a retainer for law firm Ballard Spahr.  A source claims Shulick pocketed $2 million in 2011 alone from four different DVHS schools he ran. In three years of operation, the District never audited DVHS-Kelly’s finances. Gallard says the District doesn’t audit these contracts. He says the City Controller is supposed to audit the finances of every school — including alternative schools — once a year. But Harvey Rice, the controller’s chief of staff, says his office has never been allowed to audit any alternative or charter schools. “The School District has been very resistant in allowing us to conduct compliance audits of their individual contracts,” Rice says." *** Look at the last two paragraphs. The full article is here: http://www.citypaper.net/news/Conflicting_Accounts.html
Submitted by Paul Socolar on August 10, 2013 11:23 am

Tom,

Delaware Valley High School was actually a contract school - not a charter. As you probably know, most of the District's alternative schools - accelerated schools and disciplinary schools - are run by private operators contracting with the District. Those programs are overseen by an assistant superintent rather than by the charter school office. Advocates of making cuts in the central office sometimes overlook the important accountability functions for dozens of schools that are being handled by these two tiny departments.

Submitted by tom-104 on August 10, 2013 4:19 pm
Perhaps I erred in mixing two types of schools. There have been a number of corruption scandals with charters. The point I was making is in the second last paragraph. "Gallard says the District doesn’t audit these contracts. He says the City Controller is supposed to audit the finances of every school — including alternative schools — once a year. But Harvey Rice, the controller’s chief of staff, says his office has never been allowed to audit any alternative or charter schools." "never been allowed to audit any alternative or CHARTER schools." I was quite aware that this was a contract school and not a charter. The point is it was never audited and according to the City Controller neither are CHARTERS. So we do not know what is going on with charter finances do we? Why the resistance by charters to being audited like any public school is?Given the games being played by the corporate ed crowd should we just blindly trust them?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 5:14 pm
tom-104, though you don't need it, here's a document that will confirm your worst fears: http://www.philadelphiacontroller.org/publications/other%20reports/Chart... Enjoy :)
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:02 pm
Thank you Ms. Cheng! For the report. I had not read that one. But as you see, that is what our Charter School Law created and it was Charles Zogby who wrote that law. He knowingly lets that happen. Now he wants to starve the school children educationally to advance his personal political agenda. How can a man like that be given any credibility at all? What needs to be reformed is the Charter School Law.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:50 pm
Ms. Cheng please continue to contribute your comments and ignore the naysayers.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:17 pm
Ms. Cheng - FYI. I know the conversation is about auditing charter schools. Here is the report from the auditor general, which is more related to the funding formula of charter and cyber charter schools. Even if they change the funding formula, it wont be the vast savings as you would think verus the combined spending of 500 school districts. http://www.auditorgen.state.pa.us/department/press/wagnersaysfixingpa%E2...
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:13 am
Thanks Go-Eagles. I believe Wagner was addressing the overfunding of cyber charters here in PA based on the national average spending. Basing charter per pupil funding on average per pupil spending regardless of the home district's utilization creates a unique and overwhelming problem for Philadelphia. Philadelphia not only has a disproportionately large number of charters compared to other school districts in the State, but has experienced a large drop in enrollment to which it has not (under the SRC) responded to until recently. What this means is that the average per pupil expenditure has risen above what is a fair representation of the cost to instruct a pupil in schools which have complete or nearly full utilization, which most charters have. At the same time that the per pupil spending has become inflated because of the huge drop in enrollment, charter enrollment has risen at a faster rate than was anticipated because of a large number of transfers from private/parochial schools. This is a major factor in the current budget shortfall for SDP. If an additional requirement could be added that charters are to be reimbursed the per pupil expenditure in a home district's schools that have full utilization rather than the average expenditure in all its schools, it would mean the District would save about $2,000 per child right now. With 55,000 charter students, that is a savings of about $110 million. The change would stay true to the intent of the formula for fair compensation by matching it to the spending of the home district but the match would be more accurate. It might not make a huge difference in other State school districts, but in Philadelphia, it would.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 11, 2013 4:40 pm
Ms. Cheng - I agree with your math of $2,000 x 55,000 = $110 million. Even if the funding formula is corrected, SDP's financial problems will not be going away. In other words, the financial problems are a heckuva lot bigger than $110 million.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 12, 2013 12:50 am
Yes, but $110 million is a third of the deficit, would be recurring, and a great help. The BCG report offers a financial structural analysis of the SDP: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/uploads/v_/IF/v_IFJYCOr72CBKDpRrGAAQ/BCG-S... They calculated what the cost to the District would be for charter transfers, and besides supporting the strategic downsizing begun with the FMP, also suggested the District invest more in HR and IT. Maybe having better IT would help the chronic inability to budget well? Who knows...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 12:30 pm
I'm hearing a lot about how to extract more money from taxpayers. Not a peep about concessions from the teachers union, "for the kids."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 12:28 pm
Too bad Peace Corps only deploys its volunteers to third world countries.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 2:09 pm
Spare us your pompous attitude. We make concessions every time we reach into out pockets to buy something the parents or administration should have purchased "for the kids". If you were able to grasp the facts you'd know that the teachers union made concession when we passed up any raises during the last contract negotiations a few years back. We're among the lowest paid teachers in the state and have our own children to raise. Where was all your outrage when Vallas, Ackerman, Hite and the other administrators were squandering your tax dollars? Do you pay for crimes that others commit? Then why should we have to do the same? Stick your guilt trip.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 2:30 pm
You will be "grasping" the facts soon. There is no more new money coming. The SDP will have to live within its means. Good luck with the concessions. If you don't like it, you are free to seek employment elsewhere. Welcome to the real world.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:00 pm

In the real world that I live in all Philly teachers pay the city wage tax in addittion to paying property taxes for those that live in the city. Philly teachers also provide books, pencils, uniforms, backpacks, snacks, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, clothing and whatever else is needed without receiving or expecting reimbursement. We are living in the real world where we make less then out counterparts and work under adverse conditions in a lot of circumstances. I've personally come to work early to disinfect and sanitize my classroom each and every day because of the severe rodent infestation in the school I was in. I provided toliet paper and soap for my students as well as paying for subscriptions to Weekly Reader and Time for Kids. I've purchased school uniforms throughout the year and provided whatever supplies necessary on an ongoing basis. I've made sure that each child in my class had a holiday gift by purchasing them myself. I've provide undershirts, socks, winter boots and shoes whenever I saw the need. We do for our kids as Philly teachers because no one else is. How dare you suggest that we are not living in the real world. Our world is filled with kids who wake themselves up in the morning and show up at times way too early or way too late because they have no alarm clock. Our world is full of kids that hoard food for the weekend and come to school on Mondays ravenous. In my tenure as a Philly teacher the real world as I have lived through the eyes and lives of my students has sucked and this funding crisis is a prime example of what the greater community at large think of Philly school children. It's disgraceful and we as teachers have been filling the gaps for years. How dare anyone suggest that we bare the brunt of this fiscal disaster. 13% salary reduction and 13% contribution to health care is a 26% cut. Where in the real world do they do that and work longer hours? I am an educator not an indentured servant.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:15 pm
I agree that teachers shouldn't be the ones to bear the brunt of the bad management of the District's finances; however I wanted to point out that it isn't as bad as 26%. If your health care contribution is 10%, say $400/month of a $4,000/month salary, then 13% of 10% is only 1.3% (13% of $4,800 is $624 which is 1.3% of $48,000). So you would be looking at 14.3% reduction in monetary compensation, not 26%. Small comfort I know, but hopefully some. I still think a lot of money could be "found" simply by amending the charter funding formula to include a utilization factor, that would then drop the current per pupil obligation by about $2,000 for the District for the regular ed students. Multiply that by 55,000 students and you get $110 million, and on a recurring basis. Then only $20 million would need to be found elsewhere/conceded by the PFT.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:20 pm
Hi Ms. Cheng but I just couldn't follow your math. It just confused me more but thanks anyway. I'll revisit it later.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 5:42 pm
Don't know if this will help but here goes: your health care contribution is only a fraction of your salary, so 13% of a fraction of your salary (your health care contribution) is not as much as 13% of your entire salary. So you wouldn't add 13% twice to figure the total deduction from your salary.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:00 pm

[comment deleted - personal attack]

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:18 pm
Some corrections: Our family currently has health care, but the job is not guaranteed after the project which my husband is working on is completed. We have had periods of no health care, during which we used an HSA (high deductible account) which is billed at uninsured rates and except for catastrophes, prohibitive to use. I myself have used no medical services for 16 years, including routine physicals - foolhardy, and probably deserve to die in a few years from cancer, but that would be my fault. Insurance is for the children, in case they get hurt just being kids. I no longer volunteer for the District directly, I volunteer for a nonprofit that benefits children from all schools in the District. The source of the link that "nobody" else was aware of, was a search on Google, prompted by a commenter who stated that charter income tax returns were posted online. Google "charter income tax" and the link will come up. If anyone who presents basic math or any kind of thinking is suspicious, well then again, Philly deserves herself. I rest my case.
Submitted by Out of money teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:41 pm
Stop the petty comments re: Mrs. Cheng. While I don't always agree with you, Mrs. Cheng, you obviously are committed to dialogue. Your family's situation is probably not unique. I am grateful for health insurance since before I started teaching I did not have it. With children, it is necessary. Many people in Philadelphia benefit from CHIP, Medicaid, etc. Those who work and earn above the limit have to either pay or get it through their job. Ideally, health care would be universal. But, like public education, it probably would not be equitable. Other countries manage to provide much more equitable public education and public health insurance. The U.S.'s claim to fame is extremes in poverty and wealth. Education / health care / and extremes in poverty and wealth are related.
Submitted by Out of money teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:15 pm
I'd add this is all part of the "Walmarting" of the U.S. Walmart and its ilk pay next to nothing, encourage employees to get food stamps, medicaid, etc. and who pays for the extreme wealth of the Walton family? Yes, us the taxpayers.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 11, 2013 1:28 am
Thanks Out of money teacher. Perhaps these attacks started with my comment about how much the City stands to gain from the real estate transfer tax on this proposed deal... 4% of $150 million is $6 million, which it would not get all at once or twice (when resold), in the case the District either did the sales or lease work itself for its real estate, or did its own borrowing against the same. It's not just corporations that take advantage of opportunities to make money. My reason for writing however, is not about that topic, but to reply to an opinion you expressed earlier.I once shared your viewpoint about the academic sorting that magnet schools create; that this is segregation of another kind and thus not healthy for children. What changed my mind was seeing the difference in the challenges presented to my children in the neighborhood school where they went and then in the magnet school where they went afterwards. The level offered at the magnet school simply was not possible at the neighborhood school they went to. Do children judge themselves in terms of being accepted or not to prestigious magnet schools as Masterman, Central, Carver, SLA, Bodine, CAPA as hard as the adults do? In my experience talking to them, and I get to talk to children who go to neighborhood, charter, and magnet schools, they don't. Children are inherently more open minded and less stratified in their assessment of others. In terms of lifting families to better appreciate education, schools such as Cook Wissahickon, a neighborhood school, show what is required: a high enough percentage of committed (not necessarily well off) families that will lift the rest. Their Home and School (unlike the one at my neighborhood elementary) actually values supporting their teachers and things such as field trips. Even at schools without this level of parent involvement, there are things that can be done by a school, that aren't being done right now. Title I could be used for what it was intended: the direct enrichment of the poor children with what their middle class peers have, such as appropriate educational toys, games, books to take home, drama experience, etc. This was a school level decision for many years and should remain so because the spending is supposed to support the School Improvement plan which each school was to create, despite the excuse that it was/is a District level decision. Perhaps more difficult to do in the District, a school day could be structured so that more of such experiences are possible. Yes, we can see problems as the result of larger disturbing forces, but there are concrete things we can do to better the situation at hand. We can't stop people from shopping at Walmart or using Comcast or Microsoft, but we can read our School Improvement Plan, and take the time to ask to be part of it for example. Btw, are you aware of the situathenotebook.orgrt right now? DC is working on legislation to require a "living wage" from large retailers that Walmart says will prevent it from locating there. Apparently the bill passed the Council there and is waiting for the Mayor's approval or veto. There is reason for hope.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:30 am
"situathenotebook.orgrt" should be "situation in DC"
Submitted by Out of money teacher (not verified) on August 11, 2013 9:31 am
Thanks for the reply. My only comment is students do care about the school they attend. There is huge stigma against neighborhood schools - students are cognizant of it. I teach at a neighborhood school - I hear it. I hear it in my Philly neighborhood - few students go to a magnet school. Sure, students at magnets are better prepared academically and/or have a lot more home support - that is how they get to a magnet school. Nevertheless, that does not mean there aren't motivated, capable students at neighborhood schools. When teachers raise expectations at neighborhood schools, we then need the supports (which often cost money) to help the students succeed academically.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 13, 2013 12:51 am
This is an important issue for me too, still. Several of the children in the Chess club I cofounded at our neighborhood elementary went to the neighborhood h.s. nearby and are doing very well (honor roll and helping at the local branch Free Library). Children cue off of adults. The most successful teachers I observed had an unshakeable faith in their students. There was no judgment as to future success based on current level, but a dogged faith in each of them. Trying to keep it short: Though important, "book learning" in the end will only get you so far. The institutional academic world is not the real world. If you were to look closely at what helps a person be successful, it is a combination of skills that are not currently tested, social skills and the ability to network among them. I had been in the process of developing neighborhood partnerships to strengthen these skills in the children at my neighborhood school (had a great one with the senior center and the 2nd grade) before I was attacked (similar to the attacks I get here on the notebook) for being too "smart" sounding (and quite frankly, Asian). I never "groomed" my kids to be accepted to a magnet. I agonize over not having tested my oldest for "gifted", as he eventually became alienated and dropped out. Extra money - well where is the Title I spent at your school, and if not effectively, why not? Neighborhood schools have a stronger case to make than magnets in grant proposals.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:56 am
Though important, "book learning" in the end will only get you so far. The institutional academic world is not the real world. If you were to look closely at what helps a person be successful, it is a combination of skills that are not currently tested, social skills and the ability to network among them." Ms Cheng "Book learning" will get you and HS diploma and hopefully a college education. Interpersonal and networking skills are valuable too through other means like you suggest. There is no escaping the statistics that those who attend college earn more in their lifetme and pursue careers. When my son attended pulic school the teacher recommended him for gifted testing, not me, but in any event dropping out was not an option.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 14, 2013 12:32 pm
Statistics agreed on; however, how much is due to the actual certificate and how much to the networking in the employment? Yes the certificate will give you an "in" in the networking, but I would say it is the networking that is more important (the recent Harvard study on upward mobility and traits of regional communities where it is lacking is another subject). I know both unemployed college grads and phDs, and also have extended family members who did not graduate h.s. but who did very well nevertheless. Father-in-law got G.E.D. and worked out deal with his employer to eventually get a bachelor's after being employed as highly qualified for his position through work experience and self taught initiative. My point was in relation to the judgment about worth/prospects based on academic standing/ability which right now is measured with standardized test scores. If adults would stop judging the children, but still push for achievement, the self esteem would not take the hit that it is taking in neighborhood schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:27 am
." We can't stop people from shopping at Walmart or using Comcast or Microsoft", DC is working on legislation to require a "living wage" from large retailers that Walmart says will prevent it from locating there. Apparently the bill passed the Council there and is waiting for the Mayor's approval or veto. There is reason for hope." >Ms Cheng Your second comment is what happens when people take action by either boyotting Walmart and/or supporting worker's rights, so I hope other cities are taking notice. Costco is a companyto emulate and isn't hostle to pulic educaation. I hope another retailer with better policies moves into DC
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:07 pm
Ms. Cheng, In the spring, when the district initially proposed the salary giveback (13%) and health care contribution (13%), many of us immediately added the two numbers together and assumed it would be 26% of the total salary being deducted. However, our MATH teacher colleagues explained, as you have done, that healthcare is only a portion of our salary and therefore they propose to take 13% of that portion for healthcare, as you have figured less than 2 % of the overall compensation package. Most of us would have no problem with that but no salary....zero....zip....nada! Also I think your proposal of funding charters on par with public schools, head for head, may well be the ticket for SDP at least until we can send Corbett and Zogby packing for the Poconos! THANK YOU.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:29 pm
Most of us woudl hve no problem with that? Really?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:28 am
Thank you also for replying. I can write to my State Rep about the flaw in the charter funding formula that is bankrupting the SDP, but it will take more than myself who understands how this is so, in order to push for change. Perhaps the Math teachers who are more comfortable with numbers can make the point more convincingly.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:28 pm
Look at it this way. The 13% for healthcare is 13% of the cost of the healthcare, not 13% of your salary. A typical family plan costs about $15,000 per year. So you will pay 13% of that. $15,000 x .13 is $1950, or $162.50 per month. Divide that into your salary to get a percentage and add that number to the 13% salary reduction. If you make 70K, then $1950 is 2.8% of that. So your total cut would be 13% plus 2.8% = 15.8%.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:03 pm
I understand perfectly now based on the way you explained it. Thanks for taking the time to do so.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:48 pm
Yes, thank you. Your explanation is much clearer.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 11:37 am
Re: you will be: grasping the facts soon, what exactly does this mean, take a demeaning, destructive contract or be out on the street? What is happening in this country, "real world" included (that alwasys makes me chuckle) is that the 1% want to squeeze every last dime from the rest of the population. If it's not your salary, it's the pension or social Security, the new frontiers. Therefore you can pack up or fight for what you've worked for and deserve. Grasp this: dumping on teachers is passe', find a new hobby.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:04 pm
I'm hearing about trying to extract $133 million from the teacher's union in the form of slashing pay and benefit contributions (thus leaving an employee with precious little). The idea is to frustrate people so badly that they resign and more schools can be privatized.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 12:53 pm
Teachers are not responsible for funding public education, just like doctors don't fund hospitals and lawyers don't pay the bills to maintain courtrooms.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 2:53 pm
Doctors get paid the rate the government tells them on Medicare cases. There is no discussion about it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 3:25 pm
And there is no expectation they should give any back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:41 pm
Obamacare says different. That's why doctors are against it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 11:41 am
"against it." http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedshift/doctors-react-to-the-survival-of-o...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:45 pm
How about something a little less anecdotal and a little more scientific: http://tinyurl.com/l4smajx
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:24 pm
There is nothing "'scientific" about the opinons of doctors, they are opinions. I think the phrase you're going for is "reputable source." FYI your link goes to to a right wing site, whose main articles are about the evils of "Obamacare." Try this: http://advocacyblog.acponline.org/2013/07/does-professionalism-require-p...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:44 pm
There is such a thing as a scientific poll.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:49 pm
Who's asking teachers to pay for education? If the money is not there to pay you whatever you want, then the money is not there. The district can only pay what it can afford. If you don't like it, then go get a job somewhere else. Spare us all your entitlement mentality because you won't get any sympathy from us.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 8:53 pm
Another strange one with a comment like this. Pay us whatever we want? Do you even know what the PFT position is for this contract, because we don't. What entitlement? if we don't hve jobs then children don't 'get educated and the state has an *obligation* to provide for public education. FYI- teachers are taxpayers and therfore do pay for education like other taxpayers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:22 pm
Go get a job somewhere else is right wing thinking and doesn't help the process.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 3:15 pm
Did anyone else out there get their forced transfer date and time yesterday? I have to go on the 15th. Earlier this week i was emailed that we wouldn't get our pick date until the 15th. Not much on the high school list.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:49 pm
I initially was told by the 19th but got an email to come in to pick on the 16th. It's very slim pickings but as teachers we know how to bloom where we are planted. Best wishes on the 15th.
Submitted by Christa (not verified) on August 10, 2013 11:20 pm
I received an email stating that I will be picking on the 20th...I am dual certified elementary and special ed with 5 years in....if some of you are picking next week then I am not sure what will be left by the 20th.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:16 pm
No! I got no email. What does that mean? I was told I would get an email and have Agee data to cancel if I decided. Haven't heard a thing, but don't want to be transferred without knowing it is happening. Guess I will call on Monday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 7:31 pm
You're better off sending an email to staffing@philasd.org. They do not answer the phone but they will get back via email.
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
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:25 pm
Well one guess is because they already hit that union up for a payback last year! They put into the pot, so to speak, so the members that are left get the crumbs that fall out of Hite and Nutter's mouths.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:25 pm
I'm really puzzled, can someone help me understand: Just where is the money coming from that the City will be fronting the District in order to purchase the District's real estate? Couldn't be the general fund, because that is apparently off bounds, so where is it coming from? How is taking over the responsibility to sell the District's real estate going to guarantee more money for the District? If the City makes a profit on the real estate, that is in selling it for more than what it has bought it for, or in future U&O taxes or lease deals, where will that profit go?
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 4:00 pm
Why it goes to the city, don't you know? It's a bargin basement sale on the only thing of monetary value the SDP has and the city gets it for the low low price of 1/4 the value. Then, they turn around and sell it to charter operators (like Camelot and Mastery) or rent it for more cash for them. It's beyond picking the bones clean it rape, robbery and servitude.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 5:05 pm
Right, when the District borrowed, it issued bonds. What guarantees were those bonds issued on I wonder? If it hands its real estate over to the City, the City will be borrowing, in order to get the cash to pay the District. How does that differ from the District itself borrowing against its real estate? I assume the servicing entities, like PAID will charge/get a commission. So then my confusion grows, how does an entity of the State, the District, enter into a business agreement with another entity of the State, the City?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 10, 2013 5:06 pm
Well I just remembered - the real estate transfer tax. How much will the City get from that if this deal goes through? Mr. Clarke is pretty cold blooded. This just put more "nails in the coffin" of my love for Philly.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on August 11, 2013 4:47 pm
Ms. Cheng - You are seeing the J. Wellington Wimpy strategy with "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today". There is no long term solution to fund SDP. Last year, it was a $300 million loan. Like you said above, Philly deserves herself.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on August 13, 2013 12:12 am
Our Council has disowned our schools. It is, as other commenters have said, most disgraceful and outright immoral. Why would you need to transfer property to another organization in order to sell it, removing it one step more from the community? P.A.I.D. should be volunteering their services to help find a suitable buyer, not first taking the property titles. Council should be approaching organizations that will benefit a neighborhood, such as institution of higher ed. or C.T.E., not proposing their own business deals. Council needs to do what they are paid for - represent and care for the City. Utterly disgusting: Just another way that Philly resembles Detroit, and another reason to move...
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on August 10, 2013 7:03 pm
Just like Corbett made money off of the amount that the federal government "forgave" and the SDP was supposed to get $45 million of (which is now being held hostage) so the city will profit off of this manuver. Corbett's forgiveness was for $200 million last I checked. Where did the rest of the magical money go?? There is a special place for people who play fast and loose with money like this - its called jail! Stealing from the people of Philadelphia is just wrong. It's like robbing a corpse. Shame shame shame
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:43 pm
If the SRC could cancel our contract and impose new work rules they would have done it already. I'm not saying that they are not going to try because they will and it'll end up in the State Supreme Court & while all that being wrangled out our current contract will stand and eventually Act 46 will be ruled unconstitutional because it is.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:21 pm
YES IT IS! it's discrimmiaatory. Who else falls under this act?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 11, 2013 12:37 pm
I hope you're right. ALL UNIONS BETTER STICK TOGETHER !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 10, 2013 9:46 pm
Just like Nutter tried to screw the firefighters union and the arbitrator ruled their contract was binding and the city had to pay up. If the SRC does that Philly teachers will all opt out and shut this city down. We are not indentured servants or serfs. We are tax payers and the voting public let them try.
Submitted by Will (not verified) on August 11, 2013 10:23 am
Hear hear!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 2:29 pm
How about the BS about trying to strip us if our teaching certs? I would think that it's really possible. I earned my degree and certification.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 11, 2013 7:14 pm
All smoke screens & mirrors. Is the state of PA really going to strip the certification of thousands of educators when they let known cheats keep theirs. Let's be real about this how ethical or legal would it be to impose a set of work conditions on a group and then threaten to take their certifications if they don't comply. Really. Sounds like indentured servitude to me.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on August 11, 2013 8:24 pm
Call it what you want but they ARE trying to do just that and WE need to stop it by any means necessary. They want to play illegal, unethical, discriminatory hardball, fine, they do that at their OWN PERIL. Solidarity !! Believe me, they wouldn't dare try that with the Teamsters so we need to be more Teamster and far, far, far, less "wordy." People of a certain age, remember that ML King got results by marching but the government knew he was a far better choice than Malcolm X for obvious reasons.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 14, 2013 11:16 am
"Solidarity !! Believe me, they wouldn't dare try that with the Teamsters so we need to be more Teamster and far, far, far, less "wordy." >Joe BINGO, I say that to Democrats on a national level too. Simple, direct, and UNIFIED in word and action. Do not fall into the trap of "the kids need me," so shrug I guess we'll have to share sacrifice and make accomodations. FACT- your sacrifices mean big money in somebody else's pocket.

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