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October 2012 Vol. 20. No. 2 Focus on A Portfolio of Schools

In our opinion

Welcoming Dr. Hite

By David Limm on Oct 2, 2012 04:32 PM

When the Notebook welcomed Arlene Ackerman in 2008, our editorial was called “The stars are aligned.” It seemed the District was poised to move forward.

In contrast, the circumstances Superintendent William Hite confronts as he takes his new post are exceedingly grim.

He has to implement an austere five-year financial plan that calls for a 16 percent cut in the District payroll next year, address an expectation that he will close 40 to 50 schools in 2013, and handle a cheating scandal potentially implicating many administrators. He must manage all this with a central office that has been cut back to a skeleton crew.

For the first time in a decade, the District has had to borrow to cover its operating costs. No financial relief is in sight from Harrisburg. Rather, the state legislature is exploring adoption of charter legislation that would wreak havoc on District efforts to manage its charter expenses.

It’s encouraging that Hite wants to spend his first 90 days listening and fact-finding. This troubled school system does have a huge reservoir of knowledge, talent, and commitment to children that past superintendents have rarely tapped. People who deal with schools every day are often the experts. But educators, school staff, parents, students, and community organizations are typically asked to sign off on plans – not to develop them.

On a knotty issue like school closings, it is counterproductive to bypass real community input about specific schools until the plans are all drawn up. And instead of foisting unpopular cuts on educators and parents, why not ask them to help find genuine savings?

Hite bills himself as a good listener. If he and other District leaders can live up to that promise and be transparent with their plans, perhaps we can see less infighting and more momentum for positive change.

Comments (4)

Submitted by Edward (not verified) on October 2, 2012 11:30 pm

Dr. Hite is very vengeful individual and harrases employees. He is going to be your worst nightmare. Keep an eye on how he interacts with younger principals and teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 3, 2012 1:52 pm

Ridiculous comment

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 3, 2012 2:16 pm

Knew it would not be long before the negative comments start about the new leader. Every leader has its critics and supporters.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 3, 2012 3:57 pm

First it was Dr. Hite needs to clean house. Incompetent principals are running schools. Blah blah blah. Next it was, we hope Dr. Hite reads the Notebook. We hope he takes these comments under advisement. So the way to accomplish this is to start bashing Hite??? I love it! Now he can experience first hand how ridiculous most of these comments have been. Welcome to PFT land, where it is everyone's fault but ours. Long live Ed Penn, Jerry Jordan, Penny Nixon, and add your favorite principal's name here __________.

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