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District officials go to Philly Council in quest for funds

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on May 5, 2014 02:29 PM
Photo: NewsWorks

School District and School Reform Commission officials prepare to testify at City Council.

Philadelphia School District officials went to City Council on Monday seeking funds to balance the District's budget.

The School District is seeking $75 million plus the entire $120 million that an extension of a 1 percent Philadelphia sales tax premium would generate. The District brought its big guns to make its case for more funding, including Meredith Elementary principal Cindy Farlino.

"We are trying to make it work, but we can only carry this so far," she said. "The thread we are holding is being stretched to the limit, and we hope and we know that you can throw us a rope."

District Superintendent William Hite acknowledged the prospect of cuts in city service in order to give the District the money it needs.

"I'm proud to say that I am a homeowner in the city, I'm a taxpayer in the city, and I appreciate all those other services, some of which as a taxpayer or a homeowner I could let go or see discontinued," he said. "Schools don't have the ability to discontinue."

Times are tough at the District, which this year operated on a bare-bones budget, said Bill Green, School Reform Commission chairman.

"We know that our principals, teachers and support staff are holding things together with duct tape and  stretching to the breaking point in their efforts to protect students as much as possible from the impact," Green said to his former colleagues on City Council. "Most shameful of all, we know that our students know they aren't getting a fair chance to succeed."

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Comments (7)

Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 5, 2014 8:45 pm
All of this talk about things being stretched to the limit, yet THREE NEW high schools will open next year. Dr. Hite and Chairman Green are talking out of both sides of their mouths. Enough with this begging and pleading...file a LAWSUIT against the Commonwealth!
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on May 5, 2014 10:59 pm
Here's how it will go down. The primary is next week. The voters will decide which democrat will replace One Term Tommy. In this PC world, the democratic candidate will call to dissolve the SRC. The state will say we don't have the money and that there are 499 other school districts to fund other than SDP. Lower Merion, Springfield, etc. will be more important to them. There will be a call for a shale extraction fee, but it will fall on deaf ears of a dysfunctional assembly. It's time to sever all ties. The state will due a Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of SDP. The SRC will be dissolved quickly and put back into the lap of Philly democrats. Control, control, control .......... Hite Green et. al. will ask for more money from the city. The city will pony up the money if and only if they get to name the persons on the new school board. In other words, they will control the school board and the purse strings to the tune of not $700 million for charters under the SRC, but $2+ billion. It will be a full piece of pie, not just a slice. Still, still, still true. Finally, One Term Tommy will ride into the sunset with a nice pension and a 7 figure salary in the shale industry. Philly will become the next Detroit. Be careful what you wish for EGS.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on May 7, 2014 9:28 pm
The District needs to sue the State on the grounds that the state is not providing adequate funding to support a "thorough and efficient" system of public education. The District should also be taking some charter schools to court, if possible, over special education violations. Better yet, PARENTS need to start taking charter schools to court for violations of special education laws.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 8:44 am
How does Ken Cherry, Assistant Superintendent have time to work full time for school district of Philadelphia and be CEO of his own charter.....T-Charter in Harrisburg/Reading?;_ylu=X3oDMTE0cG...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 6, 2014 8:16 am
He's collecting 150,000 a year salary. He's not very visible, except when it's time to rubber stamp terminations and remove principals from their buildings. Hite recruited Ken Cherry from Baltimore. Ken Cherry did his internship under Hite. What side of the fence are you on Mr Cherry? Public or Charter. Your collecting a salary from Philadelphia and CEO of your own charter. Nice job.
Submitted by anonymousl (not verified) on May 7, 2014 9:53 pm
BTW, while we are asking questions, lets ask Hite the same, "Which side of the fence are you on Dr. Hite, Public or Charter????
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