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Phila School District Passes Budget to Eliminate Paper, Books, Counselors, etc.
#1
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answ...ol-budget/

Quote:It isn’t called a “doomsday” budget for nothing: Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission approved a budget this week that includes cuts so drastic that if they are implemented, schools will be forced to open in the fall without funding for things such as paper, new books, athletics, arts, music, counselors and more.


So there's been this perfect storm of Philly old-heads who are absolutely adamant of not paying one new penny in real estate taxes, combined with muni unions screaming about not getting any new benes, a mayor that wants to start furloughing City employees to save money, a major pension fund crisis... and the school district had to pass a budget using figures for revenue that it already knows it gets.

That means next school semester will be without new textbooks, paper, counselors, any athletics (coaches and staff who do not teach core curricula would be fired), art, music, etc.

To get books, paper and counselors back will take $65MM. To get the rest of it back will be somewhere between $0MM and the $300M the School District of Philadelphia says it takes to keep those things.

The reason why this budget was passed: The SDP tapped its last line of credit last year. Just hitting up the credit cards (bond issue) to paper over one school year's deficit will now cost us $22MM a year for 20 years. Just to pay for borrowing for one year. So the new budget was done last week with no borrowing or any aid at all besides aid the SDP already knows and that's guaranteed to be coming.

The SDP asking Philly property owners to cough up $60MM more in real estate tax collection revenue, it's asking $120MM from the Commonwealth and the rest would come if Harrisburg allows the school district to throw out more union contracts, force furloughs and switch to at-will hiring. Basically... bust the unions totally.

Philly is largest public school system in the US doing major slashing (24 schools closing as more state money is being thrown at for-profit and non-profit charters). Since the Great Recession started, over 3,200 employees have either retired or were fired.

As of right now with the last waves of layoffs, SDP spends $11,000 per student. Lower Merion School District just outside of Philly spends $21,000 per student.
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#2
The really fun part of that, and the piece that shows how overpaid the Philly teachers are, is the simple fact that the Philly SD budget is bigger than the city of Boston's. It was all over the press on Friday.
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#3
billamj;104151 Wrote:The really fun part of that, and the piece that shows how overpaid the Philly teachers are, is the simple fact that the Philly SD budget is bigger than the city of Boston's. It was all over the press on Friday.

Yep the average PFT teacher is earning around $70K and up. In the City that wage is pretty decent and it's more than a living wage. You can live in most of the City's neighborhoods for that amount of money including Center City. You also gotta realize at the same time... the SDP had to offer wages like that to keep teachers wanting to work here. Philly doesn't have a great reputation in the world of grade-school education. Educators would rather be employed at the universities where the salaries are high, the hours aren't long, and the benes are great. If you work at SDP, you don't know where you'll wind up because the central office on North Broad determines everything. You could be sent to teach at Julia Masterman, the best high school in all of Pennsylvania... or you could be sent off to the thug factories like Simon Gratz.

I don't know what total comp is under the charter system but considering charters are all non-unionized I would imagine gross pay is at least $10K less. Charters also eliminate tenure. I would imagine the push to at-will will come someday, which would put up another defense against labor competition between the charters themselves.

From what I hear about charters---a lot of them are running into the same problem the School District of Philadelphia has always had a problem with... attracting talent. They'll compete for ex-SDP teachers who are going to be fired once the 23 schools close but many of those teachers will simply quit the profession, or pack their bags and leave and not even consider the charters. Some of these non-profit charters are installing unqualified employees to staff non-certificated positions, like family-members of the management staff, etc.

Every year the SDP is having to cancel charter contracts and close down charter operators. And every time the SDP does that, depending on how bad the charter was that's a whole boatload of fucked-up kids who have to be scattered around the rest of the system until another charter operator petitions to open another school. It's a mess.


We've already got plenty of slimy charlatans who have secured charter school contracts. They literally treat the contract like an oil lease.


The idea behind charters was that corporate ed would be more efficient and deliver a better product at a lower price. It's definitely going to eliminate collective bargaining unless they let conditions get so bad that the employees re-organize.

Charters are adamant about not making themselves comparable. So it's a mixed bag. If you move to a Philly neighborhood in say some new construction and you have kids, NOBODY looks at the charter schools as an option to send their kids. Only 1/4 households in Philly actually have school age kids and out of those, 44% of the kids are in private schools, the rest have no choice. This number hasn't budged at all since charters went in.

Charters are gonna bust the unions, but it's not going to produce any better kids under this model, unfortunately.



The better option is to keep gentrifying more sections of Philly and forcing the poor to disperse outside of Philadelphia County where the kids are in a diaspora mixed among wealthier school districts. It generates more tax revenues for Philly to pay for the poor who remain while the suburban counties can shoulder the burden they for too-long have been content to ignore.
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#4
having worked for the school district of Philadelphia, I can assure you that there's so much waste that it's horrendous. plus, as noted previously, the teachers and the administration are grossly overpaid.
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#5
Good. And I hope next year they cut at least triple that amount.
Dave, proudly annoying members of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#6
Why can't parents buy paper and books?
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#7
RugerGirl;105426 Wrote:Why can't parents buy paper and books?

They already do with their tax dollars.
Dave, proudly annoying members of pa2a.org since Sep 2012.
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#8
Dave;105427 Wrote:
RugerGirl;105426 Wrote:Why can't parents buy paper and books?

They already do with their tax dollars.

Well, I buy them twice then.

As long as everyone pays into the system including retired people, parents may as well pay a little extra by buying books and paper. To me, it's like sending your kid lunch. Your kid eats it, it's not a crime to send it from home. So if your kid needs paper and books...it's not a crime to have the parents provide it for him.
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#9
RugerGirl;105434 Wrote:
Dave;105427 Wrote:They already do with their tax dollars.

Well, I buy them twice then.

As long as everyone pays into the system including retired people, parents may as well pay a little extra by buying books and paper. To me, it's like sending your kid lunch. Your kid eats it, it's not a crime to send it from home. So if your kid needs paper and books...it's not a crime to have the parents provide it for him.

Yep. That was my thought to. If the parents and teachers are truly dedicated to educating their children, they will find a way to provide what they need, including paying for it themselves.

Frankly, why not privatize payment for education across the board. Make the SDs justify and earn their income, all while lowering taxes.

If needed, a "voucher" system could be set up to help those who legitimately cannot afford to send their children to school (or they could have the option of homeschooling, with their curriculum provided by the SD on a deposit system...).
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#10
I would definitely agree with privatizing the school districts. Some local tax money could still go to the schools, but at least then each LOCAL district would be responsible for the upkeep and quality of their schools.

You really don't realize how costly education is unless you use private education. And private school teachers usually get paid LESS than public school teachers, while the parents are still paying out the butt for the education. Because the government spends money like water and people get used to that.

Anyway, yeah....I don't see why parents can't buy a few .25 sale packs of notebook paper, a pack of computer paper, and a couple hundred dollars worth of schoolbooks for a year, when everything else is free, including, sometimes, breakfast and lunch. It's not really that much to ask.
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