At City Council budget hearings on Monday, Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos testified to the District's "dire" state of financial affairs. Seeking an additional $60 million from the city to help plug a huge budget shortfall, Hite and Ramos made their case by describing the plight of a school system attempting to succeed amid ever-worsening conditions.
You can read the full text of their testimonies below.
by Julie Mazziotta
Pennsylvania stands as one of only a few states to increase preschool funding during the 2011-12 school year, according to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research.
As President Obama looks to increase pre-K funding by $75 billion over the next decade, state funding for pre-K programs dropped by over half a billion dollars nationwide, the biggest single-year drop ever, according to the report.
by Bill Hangley Jr.
Day two of City Council’s education hearings was a long string of bleak predictions and passionate calls for funding from public school supporters faced with the prospect of what one parent called “trying to do the impossible with nothing.”
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell called the day’s testimony “disheartening,” but gave little indication that she and her colleagues are eager to move on meeting the Philadelphia School District’s request for $60 million in additional funding.
For the last 18 months, District officials have frequently highlighted the steps they've taken to slash the central office bureaucracy as a way of dealing with an enormous budget gap that came to light in 2011.
They did not highlight their decision to change course and add some jobs back.
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
Parents and other Philadelphia School District supporters are pleading with City Council to approve an additional $60 million for education.
Carol Blum has two daughters in Meredith Elementary School in Queen Village. She says it's embarrassing how the school-funding issue is being handled.
"I'm ashamed to say that our city and state has such little regard for the most vulnerable among us, children and young people," she said at a Tuesday public hearing in Council Chambers.
by Bill Hangley Jr.
District officials met with City Council today to warn that unless Council, the state legislature, and the teachers' union pitch in, next year’s “dire” budget will transform schools into bare-bones operations stripped of all but the most basic staff and programming.
But City Council President Darrell Clarke said, dire or not, there’s a long way to go before Council can find the $60 million that District officials are requesting as the city’s share to plug an unprecedented $300 million structural deficit.
“To suggest that there’s going to be any additional taxes … I think is a stretch at this time,” Clarke said. “I can personally say that without a significant increase in funding from the state, I don’t think there’s going to be any appetite at the local level to do anything.”
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Philadelphia School District officials are headed to City Council today to plead for more money.
With the District staring down a $300 million budget deficit, one high school principal says it's time for everyone, including the city's four professional sports teams, to chip in.
With City Council convening Monday morning for its annual hearings on the School District and its finances, at least a few journalists and local activists spent part of the beautiful spring weekend preparing by trying to make sense of the District’s just-released 350-page “consolidated budget” for the coming year.
It’s dense and dry, but the document does give a detailed picture of what the District looks like now and what’s ahead. A somewhat easier read is the District's "budget in brief," but that got posted online too late on Sunday to be previewed.
As City Council's school budget hearings approach, the District has released its detailed financial plan for next year, showing line by line the withered financial health that the city's schools are in.
A version of this article first appeared at Education Week.
by Nirvi Shah & Andrew Ujifusa
After the devastating school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December, state lawmakers around the country vowed to act. The mission: Devise ways to prevent a similar tragedy.
They came up with hundreds of possible strategies.
An Education Week analysis of nearly 400 bills related to school safety filed in the days, weeks, and months after the deadliest K-12 school shooting in U.S. history found that legislators have proposed solutions that include arming teachers, adding guards or police officers, and shoring up the security of school buildings.