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If enough of the missing students turn up in charters, District budget worries would grow

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 1, 2013 06:19 PM

The School District is trying to find 4,000 students that it expected to enroll in September who didn't show up.

Many of those may have switched to charter schools. Superintendent William Hite has said that of the $45 million that the state released last month, about $10 million has been set aside in anticipation of higher charter payments, which are mandated based on enrollment.

If it turns out that more than 1,000 or so of the missing students turn up in charters, that $10 million figure could go higher and create a new budget hole. District officials say they still don't have a definitive count of charter enrollment citywide.

The District has sought for years to impose enrollment caps on charter schools to contain the rapid growth of its payouts to charters. Still, it would be possible for charter enrollment to increase sigificantly citywide without any charters breaking their agreements, because many are not enrolled up to their limit.

Dozens of other charters have simply refused to sign their charter renewals, in many cases protesting the imposition of caps. And on that front, the District recently fired another salvo in the continuing conflict.

In August, the School Reform Commission waived parts of the school code that apply to charters, which it has the power to do under the state takeover. The waiver overrides language in the code that forbids charter authorizers -- school districts -- from imposing enrollment caps on charters. 

Last month, the District sent letters to charter schools threatening to begin procedures to revoke their charters unless they agree to enrollment limits. Of the city's 86 charters, 32 are operating without signed charters.

Of that group, nine charters have reached agreement and four others -- Imani, Arise Academy, Truebright, and Community Academy -- are in some phase of non-renewal hearings.

Among the remaining 19 that have not reached agreements, six are overenrolled, according to an accounting provided by District spokesman Fernando Gallard.

Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn has sent letters to the schools that have not reached agreements, setting a deadline of mid-December. 

"Failure of your Charter School to bring itself into compliance by December 15, 2013 shall be grounds for suspension, nonrenewal or revocation by the SRC of the purported charter on which that Charter School relies," the letter says.

The issue of whether the District has the right to impose enrollment limits has been in court for several years. Some charters have sought and received payments directly from the state Department of Education for students that the District says are beyond the cap.

Lawrence Jones, head of the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School and president of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, said that the District's actions have provoked more acrimony.

Jones said that his school is slightly overenrolled and is among five schools that are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the SRC's authority to impose caps. That lawsuit is still active. 

"What we've been asking for for many years is that there be a fair, transparent and equitable process for expansion, renewals, for revocation, for everything," he said. "I didn't know this was going to happen." 

The District says that it must enforce enrollment caps on charters in order to be able to plan financially. Nearly $700 million of its $2.4 billion budget consists of payments to charter schools, which enroll close to 60,000 students.

"Your Charter School’s actions in not signing a charter are contrary to law, and not doing so in a form acceptable to the School District together threaten the financial stability of the entire School District," the letter to the charters says.  "Without being able to rely on the certainty of a charter school’s enrollment and other critical terms of a binding, signed charter document, the School District cannot properly plan for the future of public education in Philadelphia."  

The District pays each charter school $8,596.72 for each regular education student and $22,242.22 for each special education student. 

Officials say that they were expecting 135,000 students to enroll in District-run schools this fall, and the actual number is close to 131,000.

Comments (46)

Submitted by tom-104 on November 1, 2013 9:58 pm
Starve the public schools as you build up the charters...Isn't this how privatization is done?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 1, 2013 9:50 pm
Per pupil spending has doubled since 2001 in public schools. You're pretty fat for a starving person...
Submitted by tom-104 on November 1, 2013 10:03 pm
You obviously have not spent any time in a Philadelphia public school. Could you share your link for this claim? But regardless, it does not contradict what I said. Especially in the last five years, a large amount was put into charters compared to the public schools even though the public schools at that time had 85% of the students. (Notice 2001 is when the state took over the management of Philadelphia public schools.)
Submitted by reformer (not verified) on November 2, 2013 5:46 am
it's not a full doubling of the budget, but in 2001 it was $1.7 bil.. in 2011 it was $3.1 bil. so the statement was close to correct. why are you pointing to charters the problem? they are obviously what parents want. you watched the last regime blow though money at a pace that would embarrass drunken sailors everywhere. promise academies and christmas parties wasted big bucks. contracts and sweetheart deal did too. because of the nature of the charter law, those schools are funded based on the previous year's district budget. why haven't you questioned why the district experienced a 5% increase in funding last year yet they cried broke. when that increase was reflected in the charter funding, now you have questions? the district hasn't been very successful taking charters to court. this could wind up costing more in the long run.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 1:29 pm
and who appointed that regime? state controlled src where did that regime hail from? broad academy don't blame us for the queen or any of these other bozo carpetbaggers the src continues to import to serve as the lackey to privatize the district lets face it. charter schools are the new parochial schools aiming their sales pitch at parents who for whatever reason want their child in a more segregated environment. in the past, parents paid for that "privilege". no longer. charter schools have effectively stolen their support base by offering a similar environment at no cost to the parents. who pays for this transitioning from costly private schools to free charters? public schools do. the state makes no distinction of whether charter school enrollments came from public or private schools. we pay regardless.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 3:41 pm
The state is ignoring its own Constitution. The Governor and Legislature take an oath to uphold the Constitution when they take office. Where are we if they just ignore the law? Pa State Constitution, Article III, Section 15 Public School Money Not Available to Sectarian Schools No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 3:05 pm
Damn Rendell and the state people doubling funding! We demand nothing less than tripling. Inflation is up 31% btw.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 3, 2013 2:13 pm
Stop blaming parents for wanting to leave a system that chooses to impose minimal discipline standards and cater to the lowest common denominator. That is not "equity". It is stupidity. And when people have a choice to leave stupidity they do.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 3, 2013 6:58 pm
Few people on here blame parents. At the same time, NOT EVERY PARENT HAS THE CHOICE TO CHOOSE A SCHOOL. MOST OF MY STUDENTS DON'T EVEN HAVE THE CHOICE OF ATTENDING THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL. I teach for the District in one of its Complex Support Needs programs (Multiple Disabilities Support, Life Skills Support, Autistic Support). The children I teach have a different curriculum than students in regular education (which includes students receiving Learning Support services). They take the PASA, not the PSSA. Most charter schools do not have the capability to serve these students because charter schools lack the economies of scale to support the necessary bureaucracy to educate all children. Yet PDE doesn't insist that charter schools serve all children and the District doesn't have the money to properly staff the charter school office. Not every child "wins" a charter school lottery. You may call the District stupidity. But many of these charter schools are outright DISCRIMINATORY! Have some empathy for those parents who don't have a choice. EGS
Submitted by Marc (not verified) on November 4, 2013 9:52 am
It is not "obvious" that parents want charter schools. Their numbers of applicants reflect a few realities: neighborhood schools were closed or restructured. Some high quality charter schools, like high quality non-public schools, have large numbers of students applying. But lets be clear, this reshuffling of students have increased the costs of education in some very important ways. First, the cost of labor increases. Surely, by not having unionized workforce teachers can be underpaid and hired and fired at will in charter schools. Is this a good thing? Depends on school leadership, especially when charters are assessed on the quality of their program through narrow evaluations such as student test outcomes. Bad principals will emphasize these outcomes over others and pressure employees even though we know test preparation is incongruent with high quality teaching and learning. Second, part of the method of reducing labor costs is to hired the inexperienced. Any good school will have a healthy mix of novice and veteran teachers. Placing novice teachers in front of a very difficult population of students costs the organization: teacher turnover is high and students receive inadequate instruction.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on November 2, 2013 9:00 am
I stand and applaud Mr. Kihn on this one for many reasons. I hope the district wins this lawsuit. At the same time, I have every bit of respect for Lawrence Jones as he is one of those early charter school founders who went into it for the right reasons. I have studied the charter school law and related legal opinions very intensively for over a decade now, and it is my legal opinion, it is a very flawed law and needs major revision. One area it needs to address is the charter cap issue and the balance of charter enrollment with the needs of the total school community of Philadelphia. It is supposed to be about -- The Common Good. It is not supposed to be about the needs and wants of charter operators. It is supposed to be about the needs and best interests of the students, their families and the total community of Philadelphia. Can we call that -- "the public good." As I said to Dr. Hite & the SRC in an address this past summer -- there are too many players on what is supposed to be "Our Team" who put their self interests above those of "Our Team." We are all supposed to be working together for the Common Good. There are just so many players scurrying around trying to position themselves to profit off the Mess that we have now. That is one reason why I believe so deeply that all of our schools who purport to be public schools, need to be governed and led publicly. No matter how it is twisted the "imperative of democracy" will always rise.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 11:14 am
well said
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 2, 2013 12:07 pm
Rich, I completely agree with your points. The large number of charter schools, CMOs, and EMOs has obscured the view of the common good and public good. There's an excellent article about the limitations of school choice called "The doubts of a school choice supporter" by educator and author Sam Chaltain: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/28/the-doubt.... In the article, Mr. Chaltain references the book What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel. It seems that the suspension of the School Code is a double edged sword---the SRC is using it to suspend provisions on seniority and on charter schools. Even if the powerful persons in the District are going along with the privatization, they also have to play hardball when it comes to money. I don't know for certain what the motives or reasons are for playing hardball, but I wouldn't be surprised if special ed is a big reason for playing hardball. It's highly likely that Mr. Kihn and others know that the charter schools don't serve all students. There has to be somewhere for students with the most severe special needs to go, and the vast majority of the the students with the most significant special needs attend District-run schools. In response to Mr. Jones's statements, I would like to ask him if his school can provide a Free Appropriate Public Education for students with autism, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, and severe behavior problems. The students with significant special needs are expensive to serve, so many charters don't serve these students and the District doesn't have the resources or structures in place to provide proper oversight in order to make sure charters adhere to the principle of Zero Reject. Even if proper oversight did occur, the reality is that serving students with special needs is often not good business for charter schools. Many charter school operators either don't care about or have lost sight of working for the public good because self-interest trumps the public good. There are a few charter school operators, like Ayesha Imani of Sankofa Freedom Academy CS, who get the principle of the public good and believe in working with the District to make their charters sustainable and good partners with the District. However, on this issue, Ayesha Imani is the exception, not the rule. Charter schools have a place---to supplement and complement public schools, but not to replace them. Educator of Great Students
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 2, 2013 11:58 am
Per pupil spending has doubled for pretty much all schools across the Commonwealth, not just the SDP. Fixed costs have been increasing.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 3:59 pm
What does that mean fixed costs have been increasing? What you mean to say is personnel and benefits costs. That is the source of the problem. Forget the last year, there were superinflationary raises for almost all of the last 12 years, raises whose impact gets multiplied into the lifelong pensions. But not $1 of that windfall can ever be given back no matter how many kids go without counsellors.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 3, 2013 6:31 pm
What I meant by fixed costs was pension costs, charter school costs, and debt service. Perhaps charter school costs may be variable; I'm not a budget expert. Pension costs and debt service are fixed costs. Pension costs are a state issue and are an issue for almost every school district in the state, not just Philadelphia. Tom Ridge, a Republican, has a lot to do with the pension problems because he signed into law legislation to increase the amount of pensions for public employees, which benefited members of the Legislature as well as other public employees. I don't know how much is related to health care and personnel costs. For the record, teachers and other PFT members have not been receiving raises for the last few years. And compared to teachers in suburban districts in the Philadelphia area, SDP teachers make less, especially those who have many years with the District. At the same time, the teachers in the District deal with far more difficult students and must spend more out of pocket for supplies than teachers in nearby suburban districts. I teach for the District and I pay into my health care. The state has cut the District's budget, yet has given out money to charter schools which have exceeded agreed upon enrollment caps: http://thenotebook.org/blog/135664/pa-took-87-million-philadelphia-schoo.... The Commonwealth has also chosen to allow unfettered expansion of cyber charter schools which have little evidence to support their efficacy and which have little to no public oversight. EGS
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on November 2, 2013 10:27 pm
EGS - Yep. Budgets have certainly doubled and it is still not enough. One huge cost that has been forgotten is the significant increases to fund the pensions.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 3, 2013 9:57 am
Go-Eagles, Absolutely, pension costs have increased and this is an issue. It's a major issue in all districts in the state, especially suburban districts. However, here in Philadelphia, there are also uncontrolled costs from charters because the District cannot control its spending with regard to charter schools. The District cannot force charters to have even reasonable enrollment caps. This is flat wrong. Some people say, well let the children go where their parents want them to go. This argument falls apart because there are children, like the ones I teach, WHO DON'T HAVE A CHOICE ABOUT THEIR SCHOOL. MOST OF MY STUDENTS DON'T EVEN HAVE THE CHOICE TO ATTEND THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL because they need to attend a Complex Support Needs program in order to receive FAPE. Federal special education law, IDEA, has a principle called Zero Reject. Due to a lack of oversight from PDE and from the District (partly because of cuts to the central office), charter schools on the whole get away with not serving the students with the most significant needs. Go-Eagles, find ONE lottery-based charter (which isn't a special education charter) that serves a student with multiple disabilities. Almost all the children with multiple disabilities who attend inclusive schools (i.e. NOT an Approved Private School) attend District-run schools. You cannot forget about these children. EGS
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on November 3, 2013 5:57 pm
Thank you EGS - I believe the pension issue has been lost in the conversation over the funding of schools. It has had a major impact on school budgets. Spec. ed. is a very sensitive issue. I know, I have several spec. ed. nieces and nephews. Charter schools get a bad rap and deservedly so over spec. ed. Truth be told, it's easy to blame charter schools for SDP's funding problems. No matter how you look at it, you still have to educate these kids. As Mr. Socolar pointed out, we are talking $600+ million or thereabouts, particularly when there are adjustments. After his comments yesterday, I'm not sure if I trust SDP's budget at all. What would be the savings if you shutdown all the charter schools right now and sent them to district schools? I don't know that number, but my take is that number pales into comparison with the true funding issues within the district. I would recommend that you look at Propel Charter Schools. The gentlemen that runs it is a former PPS administrator. They have a waiting list over 2,600 kids. http://www.propelschools.org/history Later ........
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 3, 2013 6:57 pm
Go-Eagles, Thank you for acknowledging that special education is a sensitive issue. FYI, I don't oppose charter schools. They have a place. I have worked during the summer for two neighborhood charter schools which are sister schools; they are located in Philadelphia. I enjoyed working at these schools and believe that they do things the right way, for the most part. They are a legitimate charter school. I spent over 100 hours at one of Mastery Charter School's "turnaround" schools here in Philly. So I speak from experience. I'm curious why you don't trust the SDP's budget. I don't think it's reasonable to shut down all charter schools. What does need consideration is more oversight over what charter schools do with their public money and making sure that they serve ALL children, that they don't pick and choose students, and that they provide due process before expelling difficult students. I also find disturbing that many charter schools have an us versus them mentality toward the District, as if they want to starve the District. Yet these same charter schools don't serve all students that the District serves. That us versus them mentality is not healthy because all children are important. One group of students should not receive a better education at the expense of other students. I will do some research about the Propel Charter Schools. EGS
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on November 4, 2013 6:36 pm
EGS - Please read Mr. Socolar's comments below regarding the budget. Based upon my experience as a project manager running multi-million dollars projects, budget do fluctuate, particularly with cost adjustments retaining to cost codes, structure, etc. I've seen several school budgets from several different school districts. They have the same form and structure. SDP is completely different, bordering on [fill in the blank]. Check out City Charter High School in Pittsburgh. Propel and City High were started by former PPS administrators that got fed up with the problems in PPS. http://cityhigh.org/ Here's more information with an asterisk. Wikipedia is not the best for accuracy, but it gives a good overview. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Charter_High_School
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on November 1, 2013 10:46 pm
Nearly $700 million of its $2.4 billion budget consists of payments to charter schools, which enroll close to 60,000 students. Please take a look at page 35 of the budget. The total budget for SDP FY2013 is $3.104 billion. The budget is $2.363 billion for district operated schools and the budget for non-district operated schools (charter schools) is $741 million for a total of $3.104 billion. http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/uploads/lA/ad/lAadBw8mA0yvC4FYRwrovg/FY201...
Submitted by tom-104 on November 1, 2013 11:43 pm
From the FY 2014 Proposed Budget in Brief Page 3: Debt Service, Charter School Payments and Out-of-District Placements The current level of expenditures in these three categories – debt service, charter school payments, and out-of-district placements – is a result of past decisions for which The District must now manage. All of these expenditures are mandatory and are all becoming an increasingly larger share of the District’s overall operating budget. In FY09, these categories constituted approximately 29% of the overall District operating budget in FY14, they are projected to be approximately 48% of the District’s operating budget (Chart 3). As a result, a smaller share of the District’s operating budget can be spent on District operated schools. http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/uploads/8S/aS/8SaShy6J62N8bHPKwi3uhg/fy14-...
Submitted by Paul Socolar on November 2, 2013 1:14 am

We are in fiscal year 2014. Page 35 shows the projected unified budget as of April (includes all grant funds) was down to $2.844 billion, of which $863 million is for non-district operated schools, meaning less than $2 billion for District operated schools (that's about $400 million less than in 2013).  That's one view.

The Notebook often use figures for the operating budget instead of the unified budget because the District doesn't provide updates for the unified budget over the course of the year. The budget that is adopted every year on May 31 is the operating budget.

Page 37 shows that the operating budget is $2.406 billion (excludes grants and food service). Page 189 shows the projected breakdown of that $863 million in non-District school expenses; it's not all for charters. About $115 million goes to institutional placements and non-public schools, about $26 million goes to transportation. Of the money going to charters, $21 million is federal grants rather than operating dollars. That ends up meaning out of the operating budget of $2.4 billion, about $700 million goes to charters, as the Notebook reported.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 2, 2013 11:57 am
Paul, Thank you for the clarification.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 2:36 am
67,000 students are enrolled in charters including Renaissance and cyber charters, That represents 33% of the district enrollments, with 29% being spent on those students.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on November 2, 2013 8:32 am
It is well documented that the students with the most "needs" such as multiple "disabilities," student learning English, students with mental health issues/ behavioral issues, etc. - are concentrated in School District public schools. The District therefore has to spend more on some students while most students receive less. As a parent, I received a charter recruitment letter from Freire in September stating they had not made any cuts so I should put my child in their school. If a parent chose a charter because of the severe cuts in public schools, I am not surprised. I received an email from Olney Charter High School looking for teachers bragging about having a counselor, full time nurse, supplies, etc. ** The charters are not going after the students with the most needs. Those students remain in District the public schools. Comparing % paid on charters versus District public schools is an apples/oranges comparison. **From the Olney Charter / Aspira letter: "If you know anyone looking for a teaching position, please let me know! OCHS is a great place to work! We have counselors, secretaries, supplies, AC, and teachers get an amazing free breakfast and lunch each day! Plus, Olney students are the best around! The staff is incredible, and we would love to have you be a member of our team. " (Sept. 16, 2013)
Submitted by tom-104 on November 2, 2013 9:08 am
Thank you! Much better than accounting statistics, this says all there is to be said about how privatization is being carried out.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 2, 2013 12:56 pm
Philly Parent and Teacher, Thank you for reinforcing the point about the concentration of students with special needs in District schools. I've been making comments saying the same thing for months. I'm now a Special Education Teacher in one of the District's Complex Support Needs programs so I can speak about this issue first hand. Some charter schools do serve children with significant special needs, but many of these schools are the Renaissance schools or neighborhood charter schools. The question is, do the Renaissance schools keep these programs such as AS and MDS long-term. Or, do Renaissance schools keep the programs for the existing students and eventually phase out the programs? For the charter schools which use lotteries, lottery admission in and of itself makes supporting programs such as Multiple Disabilities Support, Autistic Support, and Life Skills Support virtually impossible. The same holds true for many students in Emotional Support programs. Lottery based charters can kick out these students for behavior problems. Renaissance and neighborhood charter schools serve more students who have behavior problems and who are in ES, but often times by using private providers such as Camelot. I wonder how legal it is to isolate students, especially ones who have IEPs. The ELC has actually filed a legal complaint about the high number of African American students in alternative placements. Kids in ES and with severe behavior problems are often the most disruptive kids in a school and can make schools dangerous for adults and children. There should be ways to isolate them from other children in order to protect other students, but at present, doing so conflicts with LRE. However, District schools can't do much to get rid of the most disruptive students unless a child does something to seriously endanger other students, such as bring a weapon to school. Yet District schools are now left with crumbs of money to deal with kids with severe behavior problems. I also laugh at the Olney Charter/Aspira letter because if it was such a great place to work, then why are the teachers trying to unionize? From where do the charter schools receive this extra funding? Or does it come from paying staff members lower salaries and benefits? Educator of Great Students
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on November 2, 2013 6:32 pm
The email from Olney/Aspira was sent Sept. 16. They were trying to recruit for the following positions: -English -SpEd English -Math -SpEd Math -French or Spanish As a teacher in a neighborhood, District public high school, I was very offended by the email. It reinforced the reality of our severe budget crisis and the fact some charters used it as an opportunity to recruit. I assume charter "surplus" comes from outside funding, and paying teachers/ support staff less especially in comparison to administration. Many charters are "top heavy" with administration - CEOs, principals, assistant principals, curriculum specialists, etc. It is amazing that some charters with 600 - 700 students have a CEO, principal(s), assistant principals, and curriculum specialists.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on November 3, 2013 5:32 pm
PPT, I teach in a neighborhood elementary school. Your points about charters being very top-heavy is true. Mastery CS is certainly this way. Each school, regardless of size, has at least 4 assistant principals. The composition of their school-based employees is different also. They employ mainly people with college education and fewer working class individuals, such as Noon Time Aides and Non Teaching Assistants. I know that they do hire people from the neighborhood, but I'm not sure what the percentage is relative to District-run schools. In terms of all the charter school CEOs, assistant principals, and other administrators, they are an excess cost that results from having so many of these mini school district like entities (charter schools) that must duplicate these positions instead of schools sharing these positions over multiple schools as the District does. Yet in the SDP, getting rid of assistant principals and other administrators is seen as cutting inefficiencies or fat from the system. If these extra administrators are "wasteful spending" in the District, then they are "wasteful spending" in charter schools as well. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 3, 2013 6:35 pm
Here's an example of very top heavy administration. World Communications Charter - less than 600 students and still recruiting 9th graders- has a CEO, a principal, 2 assistant principals, a Dean of Students, a Director of Instruction, a Math Coach, a Literacy Coach, Human Resources, Athletic Director, Social Workers, Business Manager, and Technology Director. See http://www.worldcomcs.org/home/about-us/faculty/ What is the CEO's experience other than being the son of the founder? http://articles.philly.com/2012-10-09/news/34323862_1_state-charter-law-...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 7, 2013 8:33 am
The highest paid teacher (according to an online database I found) made about $57,000 a year in 2011. Probably make about $60,000 now. This is the top teacher. Top paid teacher in Philly SD makes over $90,000 (base pay for senior career teacher). Philly SD could have this if they paid teachers low salaries.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on November 7, 2013 1:22 pm
You solution is pay teachers less and administrators more? How will that lead to "student achievement?" Teachers won't stay and turnover is expensive - in more ways than one.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 7, 2013 2:40 pm
Noooooo. That is NOT what I am saying. Not in the least bit. Maybe that is how this charter school has all of the support staff. They pay teachers less. I am not saying I support it. In fact, I don't.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 4, 2013 5:16 am
How many district schools share Assistant Principals? How many schools have Asst. Principals, CEO's or other administrators teaching classes, covering classes and doing other jobs not typically in their job description?
Submitted by Wry (not verified) on November 4, 2013 6:16 am
I don't know. I DO know that Mastery Charter is super top-heavy with "Head of this" and "Leader of that." Principals, vice-principals, several deans, specific administrators for instruction and operations for ONE school. Taxpayers complain about public schools? HA! Look at where your money is being funneled. It's a FACT that can be researched. So, Taxpayers, direct your complaints toward those charters and give public schools equitable funds.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on November 3, 2013 11:40 am
EGS---All of the above. Charters are playing tennis without the obstacle of a net to make them behave. Essentially, as of now, they can do whatever they want to do with impunity. The more we play doormat, the better they like it, of course and in March, they'll have the cahoonies to try to close another batch of Public Schools for contrived and set up reasons and do it all with a straight face and the Abe Lincoln look of sincerity. The longer we do nothing aggressively to stop this, the giddier they are and the more they get away with it, the weaker we become.
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on November 2, 2013 6:36 pm
U get no benefits, no respect and they'll work you to deTh BUT... Whoo hoo! Free (and delicious) breakfast and lunch. LMFAO
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 7:32 am
The district is obligated to pay for students legally enrolled in charters (I.e. charters not over their cap) on a per student basis. This is no different than the district being obligated to pay any other expense. This headline is no different than saying "If it's a cold winter, district may need to spend more on heat."
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 8:54 am
And that fact needs to change.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 3:08 pm
Good idea. Philly is the only big city where the machine connected get free natural gas from a government run utility. The schools should join the other 150,000 deadbeat citizens getting free gas.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on November 2, 2013 12:48 pm
Email the top 4 leaders in the PFT: Jordan,Kempin,Harris and Phillips jjordan@pft.org akempin@pft.org lharis@pft.org dphillips@pft.org The PFT leaders should have already filed the legal papers way back to take some action in the courts, particularly on ACT 46.The District makes them look like a fool everyday by violating more of the contract daily with no repercussions but a worthless grievance filed that won't be executed by PFT leaders. That's why the PFT have no bargaining chip. They seem to be waiting for a savior but that savior isn't coming.The officials at the PFT got too comfortable in their undemocratic jobs over the many,many years they been at PFT headquarters.Term limits on them ought to be 5 years max. and back to the schools,classrooms-out of those cushy jobs. Another recent development that is breaching the contract and I am sure many don't know. After leveling and the chaos occurred with getting shuffled around and schedules, rosters changed for many students and teachers some teachers were not appointed that were advised earlier they were being forced transferred- due to leveling but weren't. They were told to just hang at your current school on Oct. 28th.with no assignemnt. Since this all happened after the schools rearranged everything the teachers are just showing up at their current school basically doing nothing or doing work a secretary should be doing-like filing and other office duties that a laid off secretary should be doing. These teachers were not giving any date when they will get an assignment.Could be months for the incompentent District. I disagree with this because our job descriptions will get blurred and then the SDP will require we do these duties on our prep period becomming the norm plus there are furloughed secretaries who should be doing these duties. Tell the top 4 leaders in the PFT to make a expeditous move (legal most likely) and stop being passive and enabling the District.Nothing nowadays will get accomplished with the District with those dated strategies.They need to be forced to do things and that means legally and they even try to resist that.You can talk to those people at the SDP until you are blue in the face but it's worse than talking to the wall. Email addresses above at the PFT.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on November 2, 2013 2:43 pm
No, it's not the district making us look ridiculous, it is we. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King. Maybe Jerry et al are playing possum but it sure feels like mouse.
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on November 2, 2013 2:59 pm
There will be a budget crisis every year for Public Education since the SRC cannot control its own budget. A well run savvy fast thinking organization could not operate under these rules. A dysfunctional collection of incompetent careerist clowns like 440 will blow up into a multicolored fireball when their heads explode and and rain clown parts onto Broad Street.
Submitted by julia (not verified) on November 6, 2013 11:47 pm
I had worked for the School District for 5 years as a School Counselor, before being laid off in June. It is heartbreaking what is happening to our students, and this City. I have never met a parent who doesn't want the best for their children, but Charter Schools are not the answer. I am so tired of teachers, counselors, nurses being bashed. As a Community we all need to come together to make our Schools and our City a better place. That means creating connections between school, home and the community. If you don't want to send your kids to a Philly School because you don't think they are safe - then do something about it!! Show up, be supportive of your kids, your community and you school. I love my students, I love my school and I love my city!!

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