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Corbett advances cash to Philly schools, but budget gap is unchanged

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 6, 2014 01:04 PM
Photo: Nathaniel Hamilton for NewsWorks

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (right), Superintendent William Hite (center) and Rep. William Adolph (R-Delaware County), during a press conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Gov. Corbett is authorizing a $265 million advance to the Philadelphia School District.

This is an early disbursement of money that the district was already scheduled to receive, and thus does not erase the district's $81 million budget gap.

Corbett, speaking at a press conference (see video) Wednesday at his southeastern regional office on South Broad Street, said his goal is to prevent further school layoffs and ensure that city schools open on time on Sept. 8.

"Financially this action will assist the district with their cash-flow needs in the short term," Corbett said. "[It will] reduce the amount that the district will have to borrow, and as a result save the district $4 million to $5 million in borrowing costs."

The District says it asked for this advance in June and has already included any borrowing-related savings in its budget.  (Most school districts routinely do short-term borrowing early in a school year to cover costs until tax revenues begin trickling in.)

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

 

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Comments (66)

Submitted by Lisa Haver on August 6, 2014 2:33 pm

Has anyone seen or heard from Bill Green lately?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 6:22 pm

NOPE... Where is he? Is he hiding?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 8, 2014 6:18 am

 

where is PFT JERYY JORDON? Has anybody seen him?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 3:58 pm

What gap? The one between the Governor's ears?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:32 am

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head! Corbett just doesn't get it. Schools CANNOT open in September if it's just going to be a replay of the unbelievable chaos we all endured last year (or even worse, given the recent hundreds of staffing cuts). In my school, fistfights were breaking out every 10 seconds and we had ONE security officer to deal with hundreds of pupils. Kids were assaulted, teachers were assaulted. There was no assistant principal to quell the violence - and no counselor to deal with the perpetrators. Kids with stomach viruses had no nurse to check them out and so they ended up vomiting in the classrooms. No hall monitors, either, so they ran wild in the hallways. Due to the overwhelming stress, teacher absenteeism skyrocketed and we couldn't get (or maybe afford) subs. Under these circumstances, we all felt bloodied and battered by year's end and by general concensus, we had no end-of-term faculty party for the first time in my 18 years of teaching. We all just left - furious, bitter and utterly exhausted. The only time we ever heard from 440 was when a rep came to a teacher meeting to admonish us about following state testing protocols closely and reminding us that she expected to see "significant gains" in test scores "across the board." Last year was the sort of hellish experience a teacher can (barely) survive just once - to propose a second year of such nail-biting, nerve shattering, soul crushing turmoil is frankly beyond human endurance.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 6:02 pm
What really scares me is they WILL open with even less support than last year. Very dangerous situation in high schools!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 3:55 pm

Let's stop the nonsense and get the $81 million from th PFT. that's only $9K per teacher A third of that can be their contribution to healthcare premiums.

Submitted by Pft rep (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:48 pm

Give up 9k of your salary and see how it effects your family. P.S. PFT offered to pay for medical. 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:28 pm

You give up $9,000 of your salary! Teachers haven't had raises, there have been no step increases in three years. Bills keep going up and salaries have remained fixed. Like I said, give up $9,000 of your salary!

Submitted by sparky (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:57 pm

You can make YOUR $9000. check to "School District of Philadelphia" and send it to 440 N. Broad Street, Phila, PA   19130.  Then get back to us.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 8:43 am

Teachers should never have to pay for a system that's failing THEM as well as the students. The idea is to gut public education ( especially unions) and people expect teachers to pay for their own demise?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 6:21 pm

What is the use? Principals union gave concessions and the assistant principals got laid off. It is a joke? Principals union PRESIDENT MCGROGAN SOLD OUT ALL THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS.

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 8:12 am

dont forget a pay cut also.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:55 am

yes... after taking the pay cut, they are still getting laid off every year. why there is no respect for the employees oF SDP?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:40 am

I NOTICED THIS ONLY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF DR. HITE...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 4:15 pm

It began to steamroll under Ackerman and Hite was brought to be the closer. If you see him playing the school district sympathy card don't believe it.

Submitted by Good Thing (not verified) on August 7, 2014 7:59 pm

Well, it's a good thing that we have the leaderhship of the SRC to make decisions and guide us.  I'm sure Sylvia Sims is considering the best qualities of the next superintendent who is hired ("Will they offer me a cable package?").

Submitted by Paul Socolar on August 6, 2014 3:11 pm

Corbett said Philly is one of two districts where teachers don't contribute toward health care. Actually, some teachers do contribute toward premiums -  those who opt for the more expensive Personal Choice coverage rather than the basic plan. 

From the District: "Approximately 845 of 11,616 current PFT members contribute 3% to their health care premiums. These are all folks who: (1) were hired pre-9/1/10; (2) have worked more than four years; and (3) were in the HMO but elected to move to the Personal Choice 20/30/70 plan." Newer teachers will be able to opt into the Personal Choice plan with a 5% contribution.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:29 pm

But it's not "required."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:45 pm

Thank you! I kept saying that teachers do contribute to health insurance coverage. 

The PFT has already stated that the membership will pay into health insurance coverage, but that doesn't seem to be enough. Everyone now pays into their health insurance coverage and the membership should pay into theirs. But to also ask for teachers in addition to take up to 13% pay cut in salary, continue to buy supplies for their classrooms and purchase other things for students whose parents can't afford to get for their children is too much! Teachers have their own families to provide for. The teachers did not cause the financial problems that the School District has and they shouldn't be expected to correct the School Districts money problems! 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 8:30 pm

Wouldn't this money come in handy right now?
 

"Fattah Jr. never graduated from college, but a for-profit education company that received millions from the Philadelphia School District once paid one of Fattah Jr.'s companies $450,000 to satisfy the district's requirement that 10 percent of its annual contract go to a minority-owned firm."

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 8:27 pm

It would, but it is a mere drop in the bucket considering how much money is needed.

Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:00 pm

yes, but the $450,000 was just an incidental cost (philly style) of doing business required of a "for profit" education firm to get in the game.  imagine how much they're taking off the table and stashing away.  then take a multiple of that number for all the other companies and it starts to add up to some significant "reforming" going down.  

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:49 pm

Understood but take 10,000 teachers spendng $500 worth of supples and and see what that amounts to. In other words some money is there for other B$, right?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:52 pm

Understood but take 10,000 teachers spendng $500 worth of supples and and see what that amounts to. In other words some money is there for other B$, right?

Submitted by NE teacher (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:29 pm

Teachers should decide right now to stop enabling the school district and stop buying supplies.  I know why we do, but enough is enough.  Let them see how much teachers really contribute.  We have to stop playing the victim here.  Every time we pay for something, we dig ourselves further into the hole.  Do they even put paper and supplies in the budget anymore?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 5:02 pm
That's a great idea. We can't strike but we don't have to buy paper and pens and copy paper and books and extra food and coats and shoes and socks and wipes and diapers. Yes I bought all of these things during my twelve years as a special education teacher. Why? Well my students parents don't always supply these things. But, what a message to send...maybe we should make every one work harder (parents, police, dhs, public officials) maybe the they'll see our value. No GIVEBACKS!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 8:42 am

This would be great. However, the Messiah Complex of many of the teachers would never allow for this, be honest. Erik Fleming came to our building last year and specifically said "no volunteering for anything." Yet teachers routinely volunteered and gave up their time for things. Furthermore, we had two non-union, non SDP-employee volunteers working as de facto secretaries all day, giving out ID's, running attendance, retrieving students from classes. When some of us complained, we were told that we were cold-hearted and didn't care about kids. While I see the catch-22 nature of the situation, it is problematic to me that our union, even on a building level, is so fragmented and lacks direction. 

Submitted by Amy (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:03 am

I don't think it is a "Messiah Complex". The school district very deliberately takes advantage of the generosity and dedication of its teachers.  It is hard to see what children need and not give it to them.  But every time someone volunteers, we are taking away someone's job.  Howis that good for students?

I don't think the union is forceful enough when it says those things.  People say they buy paper because if they are the only one who doesn't, they will look bad and get a bad evaluation.  That means the union has to  get EVERYONE to do it.  That's what a union is all about--supporting each other.  But the union either cannot or will not be forceful on these things.

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:29 am

I want to believe that the union is fighting for it's membership and I want to believe that they are trying to get the best contract for it's membership that they can. I wish we heard a little more from the union, but I can understand why we don't, when members tweet what is going on at membership meetings, when members talk about and post on line what goes on at membership meetings. I can understand why on the school level, the meetings are vague because there is always someone who runs back to the principal and tells what was said in the meetings. I don't think there is a 'Messiah Complex ' going on at all. I think because of various things, leadership can't tell everything because people can't keep their mouths closed and they can't stop tweeting and posting things on line.

Submitted by Amy (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:32 am

Agreed.  The union needs to be out there more and reminding people what "solidarity" really means.  But it is wrong to report what is going on in membership meetings.  It violates the trust of other members.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:42 am

I agree with Erik on that but next time you see him ask him why he threw some good teachers under the bus and stopped representing them (resulting in their baseless terminations). There is something afoot here besides ruining careers, perhaps downsizing the veteran teacher pool to make contracts easier to negotiate?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 4:42 pm

They are called "job actions," things that can be done without striking.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:39 pm

And if the teachers don't buy the materials, what are their evaluations going to look like because the students won't be doing the work? Parents, dig deep into your pockets to provide the teachers who are teaching your children, the necessary supplies for the classroom. Here is the supply list:

3 reams of copy paper per child, 2 dozen pencils per child, 6 copy books per child, three boxes of large tissues per child, 3 bottles of hand sanitizer per child, 3 rolls of paper towels per child, 3 rolls of toilet paper per child, 3 packs of index card per child,  3 packages of lined paper per child.  I'll let you know what else we will need later!

Now you know this is a disgrace!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:51 pm

All this is about is lowering the living standards of  Philadelphia School District employees so Corbett can keep giving tax breaks to the rich people who will be employing him soon. The school district employees did not create this crisis, it was created by Corbett and the legislature under the guidance of ALEC.

Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on August 6, 2014 4:22 pm

Hail Corbett he has come through for the district.

Whereas the elected of life Democrats in our legislative lineup has produced nothing. Zilch. Except maybe if you count Fattah Jr et al who have enriched themselves. Oh isn't that what Philly Politicans think the SDP is for.

Really not a bad result because if God forbid hite got the funding he wanted the first thing he would do is put a huge percentage of the PFT on the dole.

The contining crisis may not be so bad. Enjoy while it lasts.

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 6:00 pm

Now is not the time for dissent. We should go along with whatever is necessary to save jobs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 7:08 pm

Bad  advice. “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.” Benjamin Franklin

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 8:07 pm

So you would rather see people laid off rather than take a pay cut? That sounds very selfish.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 8:52 pm

Teachers shouldn't have to take a pay cut! Teachers should pay into their health insurance benefits! Teachers should stop, as much as it will hurt, picking up the slick for the School District. Stop buying supplies! You can't write them off anyway this year unless Congress puts it back in as a tax write off! Enough of this foolishness. Who ever has the money, give it up and let's get back to the business of educating children!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 8:41 pm

I'm not talking about how things should be. I'm talking about how things are. I don't want to see any more people out of work.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:54 am

. . .and it is the Sheep and enablers like you that the District and State count on to just shut up and quietly accept the shaft year after year. My God,show a little pride in yourself and your professon. Stand up and shout enough!   

Submitted by School district employee (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:03 am

It is time for the PFT to take a pay cut. All of the other school district unions have taken a pay cut.

Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 6, 2014 8:09 pm

absolutely.  employees will be hired back when the need becomes apparent.  pay cuts are forever and are a slippery slope once you start down that road.  sorry if you're on the bubble, but try and stick around for a few years and you'll see the wisdom in that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 6, 2014 10:11 pm

But waiting to be hired back, is a chance and by the time one is hired back, their mortgage is so far behind, as one poster in another thread stated, they lost their car and other bills were behind. No, I don't want anymore people laid off and I certainly don't want to see teachers have to take a pay cut. Once they start cutting salaries, there is Jo stopping what they will do.

Submitted by anon (not verified) on August 6, 2014 11:05 pm

i was responding to the question posed...

"So you would rather see people laid off rather than take a pay cut? That sounds very selfish."

answer c) none of the above - was not offered as an option.  it seems to me that if we take a pay cut to keep staff from being laid off, we're playing right into the hands of the "reformers".  besides, they'd just be back again in six months with the same proposition.  

better to keep the profession of teaching a rewarding job for those who can get a position, rather than see it turned into a mediocre job for all.  when the consequences of not having enough staff becomes too painfully evident to ignore, they'll allocate more funds and our numbers will increase again.

we've all taken a paycut already as the district continues to stray from the collective bargaining agreement.  those lost step raises, advanced degree designations, bonuses and supplies that 440 has unilaterally seen fit to withhold are not going to be awarded as back pay.  why on earth jerry jordan doesn't put a $ figure on our loss and publicize it more is beyond me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:12 am

This sounds like an instigator because nobody I know anywhere is acceptng a pay cut. The PFT has had to concede way too much to stand for that on top of it all. Many of the newer charters replacing public schools that have been closed are new and shiny and where does that money come from? It comes from taxpayers (who didn't ask for their schools to close) and monied interests. This whole notion of "there is no money" has been created and for more proof look to Chicago wher 50 schools were closed yet money still flows.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 9:01 am

"why on earth jerry jordan doesn't put a $ figure on our loss and publicize it more is beyond me."   >>>       

 

For the same reasons Democrats don't boast about their accomplishments. The message is correct but the messenger is not adept at the game

Submitted by School district employee (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:09 am

It is time for the PFT to take a pay cut. All of the other school district unions have taken a pay cut.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:14 am

Have the other school districts not received raises in three years? Have the other school districts stopped given step increases? Have the other school districts stopped paying for advanced degrees, which a teacher graduating from a college or university has to obtain in order to become certified in PA, along with taking the Praxis exam (s), that cost money and are not reimbursable? Just stop with your foolishness. Teachers are buying supplies for their classrooms, as well as buying other things that their students need. Teachers deserve every dime that they make and more for what they have to deal with in the classroom as well as outside of the classroom! 

Submitted by SDP employee (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:38 am

stop your complaining and just fine another job.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 12:48 pm

Oh, don't get it twisted, I am complaining at all, just stating facts. I am just going to be doing less and less in terms of spending my hard earned money on supplies and materials. Hopefully, parents are doing their school supply shopping for their children. Wait until you get the list of required materials for school. Watch out for sales, stock up on tissues, copy paper, hand sanitizers, notebook paper, copy books, pencils, paper towels, etc...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 12:11 pm

Does anyone at 440 or up at the capitol have to bring their own toilet paper, copy paper, and essential supplies? This is a big red flag that signals to teachers that the aim is to see them so furstrated tha they resign and leave the field clear for whomever they want to hire. The public pays taxes to the SDP, why aren't these basics there like they've always been?

 

Take a trip to a charter school and see if these things are provided. That the mayor had to go public and  ask for supply donations is so embarrassing I don't know how he brought himself to do it. One more important point. The reformer MO of having the least experienced staff in lowest performing schools is going to be moot as every teacher will be new and have no seniority. The residents of Philly have to decide how acceptable this is, that their kids are taught by uneduated, unqualified post teenagers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:57 pm

^^^^^^^

Sorry, I am not complaining at all, just stating the facts...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 4:56 pm

The word is "find". If you're an SDP employee, then I'm the Queen of Antarctica.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 4:07 pm

I don't think the person who wrote 'fine' instead of 'find' is a SD employee. I think they want to be one! LOL!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:47 am

Everyone must realize that this has nothing to do with a pay cut, paying into healthcare, supplies, or anything else.  Regardless of what the PFT offers, the district will continue to walk away from the bargaining table until all workplace changes, most notably seniority rights are given up 100%.   

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 10:06 am

The PFT is not going to "take a pay cut."  Let's knock if off with the purposely designed austerity measures. Never start a "fundraising campaign" with the people at the bottom.

Submitted by SDP employee (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:19 am

Almost all of SDP employees pay into their health insurance,have not received a pay raise in years and have taken a pay cut.It is time for the PFT to do the same.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:05 pm

The PFT has not had a raise in several year and does pay for health insurance (see comments above), but then I guess the truth doesn't really matter. It's all about the teachers paying for a financial crisis they did not create. When was the last time you ask a banker, corporate head, or hedge fund manager to take a pay cut, let alone pay taxes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:25 pm

Also, salary step increases have been frozen for over a year which means new teachers are out thousands of dollars each year they teach. Not only is there a wage freeze but without step increases new teachers are taking a pay cut.

Submitted by Inthetrenches (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:52 pm

The SDP also did not give teachers who received degrees their step increase as of September 2013.  Another contract violation.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 11:47 am

Why don't the SDP contractors take a cut in their contracts? Every SDP contract has a clause stating if the SDP cannot afford the contract the contractor may not get paid. Why are the SDP's employees the only ones to take a hit in their pockets? I think the wrong people are getting slammed here. The Marcellus people, the large corporations all of Corbett's friends are not paying their shares.

Submitted by Jennifer Rowland (not verified) on August 7, 2014 12:14 pm

 

The war on public education and the teachers that have made this their life's dream is heartbreaking. What message is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sending to its citizens and the nation by saying the education of its youngest constituents is their least priority? However attacking those that service the children in Philadelphia is priority number one on their agenda! Many Philadelphia teachers work hard and tirelessly for their students while still attemptiing to support and provide for their own families. 

On November 11th we will remember!!!

 

 

 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 1:43 pm

You are correct, I will remember come Election Day!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 7, 2014 6:43 pm

I think election day is November 4th this year. If you're voting for Corbett it is the 11th.

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