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City and state still locked in battle over responsibility for Philly schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 3, 2014 01:12 PM

At Monday's annual budget hearing, City Council will hear pleas from School District leaders for more money.

It is a familiar scenario. The same thing happens every year, only this time it is worse. The District says it needs $216 million just to keep the current level of service -- a level in which many schools do not have full-time counselors or nurses, most have no libraries, course offerings have been cut back, and virtually all are scrambling for basic supplies.  

Superintendent William Hite has said that without at least that much, the schools next year will be "empty shells." He warned this week that class sizes would rise to as high as 41 in high schools and 1,000 more staff members will be laid off.

Ideally, the District says it wants $440 million in additional funds so it can not only restore cuts made over the last two years, but make a start on Hite's school improvement agenda. It is hoping to raise that by getting $195 million from the city, $150 million from the state, and the rest, about $95 million, through concessions from labor unions, particularly the teachers.

But the political and fiscal realities are not looking good.

City Council and Harrisburg remain locked in battle over who is responsible and who should bear the brunt of the burden for the city's schools, which have been under the control of the state since 2001. And while the District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers continue to negotiate, there has been no settlement after more than a year of talks.

A group of five advocacy organizations sent a letter Friday to Council President Darrell Clarke urging him to pass a sales tax extension that would send $120 million annually to the schools. The state legislature has authorized it, and the District is already counting on that money.

But Clarke wants to split those revenues between the schools and the city's lagging pension fund and instead increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $2 to raise money for education. City Council has passed such a measure, but it requires authorization from Harrisburg, where the reception has been cold.

Hite has said that he is "incredibly frustrated" that the District is still in the same position it was in last year, still without guaranteed, recurring sources of revenue. New School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green called the situation "immoral" and said the SRC was "disgraced" by what is happening.

But city and state officials contacted Friday didn't offer much assurance that there is a solution within reach.

In an interview, State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby reiterated that even if the state had money -- and he says it doesn't -- Harrisburg is waiting for the city to take action on the sales tax and for the PFT to "do its part."

"There is a strong belief in Harrisburg that City Council needs to implement the solution they've been given by the sales tax, and everyone is looking to the PFT to help contribute to the solution," Zogby said. "When we have $120 million that is, as yet, untapped, we can't be going before the governor and General Assembly asking for more money."

Zogby also said that legislators were aware that the city is owed hundreds of millions in delinquent real estate taxes. "How can they ask for new money when they are not collecting all they can from currently authorized taxes?" he said. (The city has stepped up its effort to collect these taxes, and asked for state approval of measures to make it easier to go after deadbeats who also own property outside the city, not all of which have been enacted.)

Meanwhile, Nutter administration officials released more information showing that splitting the sales tax revenue, as Clarke wants, will be devastating to the District over the next five years but have minimal positive impact of the goal of shoring up the city's pension reserves so they are 80 percent funded. At best, it will shorten the time the goal is reached by a year or two, to 2028 from 2030.

The advocacy groups cited this information in the letter to Clarke. 

"The diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars from the District to hit the same 80 percent pension fund target only two years sooner does not make fiscal sense," said the letter, sent by the Education Law Center, Education Voters of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the Philadelphia Education Fund, and Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

Clarke's chief of staff, Jane Roh, said in an email that the Council president is not persuaded.

For years, she said, Council had been working on plans for using the sales tax money to shore up the pension fund, before state officials "hijacked that proposal ... in order to avoid fulfilling a request by the state-run School District of Philadelphia for more funding."

Clarke urged approval of the cigarette tax.

Erik Arneson, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said that Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi was "open" to the cigarette tax. Sources said that the House, however, is still opposed.

One Harrisburg source said that the state's own fiscal situation is in trouble, and that if it becomes necessary to consider raising revenue and not just cutting programs -- Gov. Corbett is on record opposing tax increases -- a statewide cigarette tax increase may be an option. In that case, there would not likely be support to let Philadelphia increase its own cigarette tax even more.

In this tight budget situation, advocates' hopes of restoring an education line item to the state budget that reimburses districts for expenses related to the creation of charter schools seems remote, the source said. This line item, eliminated by Corbett two years ago, annually brought more than $100 million to Philadelphia. Even if it was affordable, it isn't politically popular.

"It's highly unlikely that the General Assembly would embrace an approach that has the effect of sending the lion's share of funds towards Philadelphia," the source said. 

Philadelphia has 86 charter schools, more than half the state's total.

The District's situation could actually get worse. Increases in education funding that Corbett has proposed and the District is counting on next year could be pared back as the state looks for ways to close what is turning into a more than $1 billion hole due to revenues that are coming in below projections.

"April's poor revenue collections seriously complicated an already challenging state budget," wrote Arneson, Pileggi's spokesman. "We are in the process of re-evaluating every line item to see where additional savings can be gleaned. I won't rule out the possibility that some line items may see increases, but I don't think optimism is warranted at this point."

The advocacy groups say that the primary goal is to get a fair, predictable state funding formula for education -- a view echoed by Lori Shorr, Mayor Nutter's chief education officer.

"We haven't fixed the underlying problem here, which is full and fair funding on the state level," she said.  

Earlier this week, Shorr accompanied Mayor Nutter on a trip to George Washington High School, so he could view conditions firsthand. She has visited other schools herself. 

She said she heard students talk about having no supplies in their biology or chemistry class and doing all their experiments on paper. She also heard about how they once had four foreign languages and now have only one.

Music teachers told her they are fixing instruments with money out of their own pockets. Two principals said that they can't serve breakfast in school, because there aren't enough adults to supervise.

"People talk in theoretical and political language, but until you are in the school and walking the hallways ... you need to see the real impact right now," Shorr said.

"And it will be worse next year if we don't get the things done that need to happen."


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Comments (47)

Submitted by Ken (not verified) on May 3, 2014 2:25 pm
I know this is heresy.....but raising taxes is the easiest, most reasonable solution. Of course, with today's GOP, it will never happen.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 9:11 pm
Heresy? Raising taxes is all anyone in the Philly delegation ever talks about. Actually the easiest thing to do would be to cut some of the massive bloat in the city budget and redirect it to schools. Like the billion in overtime (and more in spiked pension payputs) that no one looked at over the last five years or the $200 million an counting the city stole from taxpayers for DROP. Or the $500 million the city could get from selling its patronage plaything PGW. Philadelphia has no shortage of high tax rates or pols seeking to raise them. Yet the government services still suck here.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 4, 2014 10:11 pm
The only people that need to be taxed are those who extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. Philadelphians don't need more taxes to support the SDP. The Legislature needs to DO ITS JOB and fund the SDP according to the State Constitution.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:02 am
Try again. Taxing the Marcellus shale would only fund a small fraction of the $48 billion pension deficit. If you actually want to raise some money, apply the state income tax and city wage tax to pension income, something that almost every other state and the federal government does. But I understand that scapegoating the foreigner is always easier than paying your fair share.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 3, 2014 4:32 pm
Forget about it. The residents of Philadelphia have already had 3 tax increases to help the SDP. Philly is contributing $150 Million more per year for the last few years. It's time for the SDP to do some belt tightening. Their budget is twice what it was ten years ago while the overall rate of inflation is up only 30%. This is not a funding problem. It's a spending problem.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 10:46 pm
Yes, a spending problem. A problem that has been ongoing since the SRC took over 13 years ago. In fact, the late Arlene Ackerman put this District into a $625 million hole. Not the teachers, but the SRC. The SRC was put in place by a Republican Governor. And control of the District needs to go back to a School Board like it once was and every other District has. In addition, children have the right under Federal law for a free and appropriate public education. It is quite obvious, that Corbett and his republican controlled house and senate forget about Philadelphia and its' school children. Most of these school children are minorities and come from a poor socioeconomic background. It appears this will become a civil rights issue and the State will lose dearly. Once 1 term Tom is gone, the funding will come in like it did when Rendell was Governor. Allyson Y. Schwartz or Rob McCord, whichever one will do what the State is OBLIGATED to do and that is to cover 50% of the funding for the Philadelphia School District.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on May 4, 2014 11:47 pm
Keep dreaming. I hope dearly whoever wins the Democratic nomination plays the race card. That will only galvanize people in the rest of the state to vote for the Republican candidate. "Proper funding" is what the taxpayers of the state of Pennsylvania decide, not what a public sector union decides. The fact that the SDP budget has grown 3x the rate of inflation over the last ten years has still has financial problems is evidence that the money is not being spent wisely. The people of Pennsylvania will have a choice to make. Do they want their taxes being raised continuously to throw their hard earned money down a black hole, or do they want accountability and prudence. We will see.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 12:38 am
The state's SRC mismanaged the District for 13 years, they brought in a series of Supervisors which dug the hole we are in, but your bigotry can see nothing but hate for Philadelphia.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:02 pm
Please don't feed the troll.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 5:16 pm
Again the State is mandated to make sure public schools stay afloat. It's funny you don't mention the SRC approving the $900,000 bonus to walk away or the new $90,000 job Hite just hired. Or, the fact that Hite needs a personal driver to take him everywhere. Please....we aren't talking the President of the United States here..... Ackerman $625 million HOLE while Superintendent. Spend $1.5 million dollars on a state of the art camera system in South Philly High School and Fox News undercover said it was a waste of TAXPAYER dollars as none of those cameras were even being monitored. FACT: 13 years of SRC control has a huge HOLE every year in its existence. That wasn't an issue when Constance Layton was Superinitendent under the Board of Education. Remember?????? FACT: Teachers are obligated to continue higher education learning as part of their job. Repeat---as part of their job. Teachers have spend thousands of dollars in student loans to achieve this. Why should someone who earned every penny have their income be threatened and taken away???? If you earned your way and worked hard no one should have something earned taken away. The salaries will never be taken away. Bank on it!!! In addition, don't be so sure teachers won't walk if threatened. In the end, the teachers really do have the upper hand because without them in the classrooms there would be no school. It would be a media frenzy. And, when the citizens of Philadelphia have the memorandum on the ballot of Philadelphia taking local control back from the State and it overwhelmingly wins for local control, the SRC will topple. People have had enough of of a Republican placed SRC who has done nothing but create deficits every year. Can't blame the teachers.
Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on May 5, 2014 6:42 pm
We WILL WALK!! No one wants to do anymore of this rah-rah, wear your red shirt, etc. no one's listening! We are just waiting for the call to go out. When it does, every teacher who has suffered the ravages of this year and is completely terrified of what atrocities will come next year will be on the Pickett line. It is the fear of 40 to a class, no support and vilification in the press that will drive us out. We cannot give anymore. No more time, no more money and no more babysitting these warehouses you keep calling schools.
Submitted by Teachin' (not verified) on May 5, 2014 8:24 pm
I agree. This wear black on Mondays, red on Fridays is nonesense. I'm ready to take some real action.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 8:51 am
Then walk. The FACT is that they can't pay you money they don't have and will not get. Go do something else for a living if you don't like it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 9:37 am
Sure they can pay the salaries. Cut the fat out of the District Office, get rid of Hite's personal driver, all the new positions he hired at $90,000 per year. If teachers walk then schools won't open. The teachers still have the upper hand in the end. Go Allyson Y. Schwartz!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:52 am
The multibillion dollar pension heist in 2001 has done a lot to put us in the hole we're in now. PFT money was up there bribing the pols to rip everyone else in the state off. So to claim teachers are blameless is a lie- you encouraged that theft and you continue to benefit from it. You took the pension fund from fully funded to a $48 BILLION deficit that now eats into the operating budgets of every district in the state. How else has funding per pupil doubled since the SRC, admin cut by over 1000 useless heads and still we have a funding problem? Of course the state pols spiked their own pensions the same time they did yours, so your bribe money was a very savvy and cost effective investment for you.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:24 am
Could you provide a link for your claim that the PFT lobbied for the pension increase in 2001 or is this just your prejudice against public employee unions speaking?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 12:04 pm
Stop insulting my intelligence. When you look for a thief, being in possession of the stolen goods is a pretty good indicator of culpability. And claiming a friend lent you a stolen car you've been driving around for years is a pretty weak defense. That's not prejudice, just simple common sense. When the pension plan was funded in 2001 your benefits were unilaterally increased a la the Detroit 13th check scam. I guess your union had nothing to do with that, right? Now that the fund is $48 billion in the hole, you pretend like you had nothing to do with it and demand everyone else to make you whole. It is a great racket for you guys. Fortunately most voters are too dumb to realize the game and the full bill from 2001 are only now coming due. Just stop pretending like you have/had nothing to do with the financial problems at the district which are driven by pension contributions at both the state and local level to fund that multi billion dollar theft in 2001. To be fair, only a portion of the $48 billion deficit is due to your theft (underfunding and bad market performance accounting for most), but just your portion qualifies as the biggest heist in PA history. It would be more than enough to fund schools adequately.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 12:18 pm
You didn't answer the question. What is the source of your information that the PFT made "biggest heist in PA history" other than your prejudice against workers?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 3:59 pm 2001: Act 9- increased your benefits by 25% without funding, applying all increases retroactively. 2002: Act 38- further increased your benefits by another $1.8 billion, again without funding. Of course, to this day you keep these benefits and get to pay NO STATE INCOME TAX on either of these multi-billion gifts. That is how we went from 130% funded to $41 billion deficit (bigger than the state budget) in a decade. The real cleverness in this theft was Act 38- at the same time you got additional unfunded benefits, local districts could temporarily underfund their contributions, thus freeing up money for more raises! Brilliant. Of course the raises and underfunding just compounded the current problem. Now for the next decade, state (and district) spending will be sucked in to pay for this heist. That means less state and local money for spending money on schools and teachers. That is why the district is broke, despite doubling per pupil spending since 2001. Those are facts. If you want to pretend your union had no part in this heist, you should ask for a refund of your dues. They did good by you. But they screwed everyone else in the state and contributed substantially mightily to the current funding problem.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 3:43 pm
OK...but how did "the union" get a Republican governor and a Republican majority legislature to go along with this "heist".
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:46 pm
Duh. They increased their own pensions at the same time! Actually I think their retroactive multiplier increased by 50%. Greed often trumps ideological principle. And often the worst ideas have bipartisan support (Patriot Act, invading Iraq). Look at Gloria below arguing that her pension income deserves to be completely state income tax free while calling for all manner of taxes to go up basically everyone else.
Submitted by gloriaendres (not verified) on May 5, 2014 4:14 pm
The "heist" as you call it was a one time Cost of Living Adjustment. That was in 2001? How many COLAs have we had since? Zero. We get COLAs almost but not every year to Socal Security. But it has been 13 years since the last COLA. Which means the pension is fixed. That coincides with the tenure of the SRC, The pension is treated like any other investment fund. It is taxed at the federal level only. So is SS. If you have an IRA do you pay local taxes on that? Of course not. And you pay federal taxes only when you withdraw it. It can earn all it wants and not be taxed as income until you take it out. It is not the union's fault that the state took a pension holiday for a dozen years. Meanwhile active school workers continued to pour money into it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:49 pm
There was a COLA in addition to the 25% retroactively applied multiplier. And no, your pension is not treated like any other investment or any private sector retirement plan. It is a tax dodge Mitt Romney would be proud to call his own, if he lived in PA. With my IRA in PA, my contribution is taxed when I make it and then taken out tax free. Almost every other state and the feds (MS is one that doesn't) don't tax the initial contribution and do tax the retirement income. Other states are actually more favorable since in the PA, I lose the benefits of compound interest. In your case, when the state gives $10 billion in extra unearned pension benefits, you don't pay taxes on the contribution or on the withdraw. It is entirely tax free. Again, the federal government and almost every state does not treat pension income this way- they tax it as income, as they should. PA is particularly friendly. Gloria et al like to complain about other people not paying enough in taxes. But they can't be bothered to pay even $1 in state income tax to fix the $41 billion budget hole they helped create.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 3:27 pm
You have another $10 billion + contender?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 3:28 pm
::sigh:: Get the foil off of your head....
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 10:33 pm
All it will take to elect a Democrat as Governor is overwhelming huge turnout in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware County, and Pittsburgh. There will be a door to door get out to vote for a push to rid us of one of the worst Governors besides Tom Ridge. It's just a matter of time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:42 am
Doesn't matter. A Democrat will raise spending a bit, but not by the billions it would take to get $400 million to Philadelphia. For one, the legislature will remain Republican. And even most Democrats in the state have limited sympathy for Philadelphia. The Philadelphia delegation is a useless group of tools who vote lockstep with the machine. They care more about random interest groups like state store employees than cutting deals to fund their schools. An uneducated dependent electorate helps keep them in their jobs regardless. Every $100 million the city wastes on DROP or PGW or overtime fraud or gross mismanagement is a dollar that it can't spend on education- a core function of government. Blaming Corbett, the state and the SRC is a useful strawman for the city to avoid any responsibility for education, or take any action that threaten status quo interests. Or explain how per pupil funding DOUBLED since 2001 yet we still have constant financial problems. The SRC was run by Rendell for most of its existence so it is hardly some foreign power hostile to Philadelphia. So bring on the Democrat governor, but don't be so naive as to think that alone will fix anything here.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 9:10 am
The SRC was started under Governor Ridge and one of its first actions was to try to turn the School District over to Edison Schools. When that failed a campaign was begun to undermine the School District financially. While funding improved under Rendell, the District was run by Vallas and Ackerman who promoted a privatization agenda through expanding charters and Promise Academies at great expense with deficit spending. The result is that now 12% of the School District budget is debt service to the banks.
Submitted by Publius1788 (not verified) on May 6, 2014 2:10 am
It may not matter that much, but in the interest of historical accuracy; the takeover of the School District of Philadelphia and the formation of the School Reform Commission on 21 December 2001, came under Governor Mark Schweiker (R). Governor Ridge formally resigned as governor on 5 October 2001 to accept his appointment to head the Office of Homeland Security. (You may recall that Schweiker was the Lieutenant Governor during the 9-11 terrorist attacks the month before.) Governor Schweiker’s action was made possible by legislation written by the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Representative Dwight Evans (D) (Philadelphia’s own.) This is the Act 46 mentioned in many posts on this site. The legislation passed quickly because the Superintendent, David Hornbeck, had threatened to shut down Philly’s schools over funding. If you check the record, you’ll find that school funding was an issue for Governor Ridge’s predecessor – Governor Bob Casey (D), Jan 87 through Jan 95. Another minor correction would be the statement, “The result is that now 12% of the School District budget is debt service to the banks.” Some small amount of the debt service payments may go financial institutions -- banks -- in fees; however, the majority goes to the bond holders. This can include organizations like the $183.3 billion CalSTRS (the California State Teacher’s Retirement System) with bonds in their portfolio or individuals who have a bond fund in their individual IRA portfolio. Go Frankford High!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 9:27 am
Good points, though you should never hold a tax free muni bond in your IRA, nor generally in a pension fund. More likely the debt is held by high net worth individuals in PA who benefit most from the tax free interest. Ridge was worse than Corbett, but everyone was happy with him as long as he was spending money.
Submitted by Dave (not verified) on May 3, 2014 4:22 pm
Let's start by getting rid of Hite.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 3, 2014 7:43 pm
Let's start by getting rid of Corbett. Hite will do whatever he's told to do.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 12:13 am
No. HITE must go First
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 1:47 am
Hite Must go first. His mindset is wrong for the school district of philadelphia. He does not even agree with majority of philadelphians on the solutions. He believes that teachers are overpaid and must be controlled as much as possible, including on how they use their preps, charters are the solution, sophisticated 440 staff is the way to go, principals must have autonomy on teacher selection and retention, parents and citizens' voices can be bypassed if necessary, and so on He does not even believe that we are spending a very large portion of the money for education on himself and executives at 440
Submitted by Annony (not verified) on May 3, 2014 11:59 pm
Do the politicians realize how ridiculous they appear? The schools are crumbling and they are having a "spat" over who should ensure schools have enough funding to operate. If their offices lacked basic supplies, they would vote to ensure the funding. Instead, City Council, Clark, Nutter, and Corbett are pointing fingers. Enough already!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 3:06 pm
There's apparently money to go around. If the district has money to open three new schools, rehire Saliyah Cruz, promote two new principals with 100K plus salaries, then there is MONEY. Yet, the news is looming again for about a 1000 layoffs for teachers. Somewhere, somehow there is gross misappropriation of funds. IT'S TIME to get LOUD about this nonsense!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 7:54 pm
And look how many new 440 positions are being advertised. Do we really need all those high salaried people? Will they really help the children or are they there to monitor the teachers.....
Submitted by skint (not verified) on May 4, 2014 8:20 pm
440 jobs are patronage positions. Hite is the height of arrogance with his giving half a million in raises as soon as he hits town. Then turns around and tells some of the lowest paid teachers in the state to kick back part of their pay to bail out the collection of horses' asses down at 440.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 4, 2014 9:37 pm
Thanks to the src there are 1000+ fewer of these patronage bureaucrats. The scumbags on council don't want to find schools because hey can't pack the district with jobs for their lazy machine supporters. Whose fault is that? Not hbug's. If kids kicked back to council like PGW workers the funding would be there
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 8:43 am;_ylu=X3oDMTE0cG... Ken Cherry collects 150,000 annually from district while he's CEO of Keycharter school. He's not that visible in the district. Guess you can't put in a full days work when you have other positions. Hite brought Ken Cherry in from Baltimore.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 10:08 am
I used to like Darrell Clarke. I think he should stop holding the children hostage and let the SDP have all the money from the sales tax.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 10:54 am
And then what? Kick the can down the road instead of addressing the city's woefully underfunded pension program? Wait until it's a crisis situation and then claim no one saw it coming?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 1:42 pm
Selling PGW would raise $500 million for the pension fund Ending DROP and taking the most basic steps to manage (not eliminate) overtime spiking would reduce the liability another $500 million (DROP alone is over $20 million a year, capitalized forever). Just these two actions would cut the pension deficit by $1 billion tomorrow, more than 20 years of 50% sales tax proceeds. Why would anyone in Harrisburg or anywhere else in the state have sympathy for Philadelphia's political priorities- maintaining DROP and keeping PGW as their patronage den instead of funding education? The fact that the city refuses to take the most basic actions to fund schools is shameful. But more shameful is the fact that all the "education advocates" are deaf and mute to the hundreds of millions the city squanders on this sort of corruption and fraud.
Submitted by toshifuni (not verified) on May 5, 2014 12:57 pm
You can deal with kids in school or as adults with social services and prisons. Everyone pays when a child does not become a productive member of the city. I don't have a solution, but the adults in charge need to handle this instead of letting everyone belly ache about who got what and how things don't get done. Administrators/ officials/ politicians, handle this please, because parents have given up.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2014 1:21 pm
Toshifuni- The problem is "parents". Who are they and how do they contribute?
Submitted by Free Thinking Freedom Fighter (not verified) on May 6, 2014 7:42 am
How about some transparency and accountability with the current issues. How about not giving all these tax breaks to the corporations (Comcast and etc.). How about legalizing marijuana and getting resources from that tax generated money. I dont smoke, but bullying citizens who smoke cigarettes is not going to work. How about raising the city tax on those who actually have children in the public school system??? Yall already have people who dont have kids, paying for other people's kids to go to school, and now you want to bleed their wallets more??? Election time is going to be very sad for the lot of yous!!!

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