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$50 Million By Next Week, Or Philadelphia Schools May Not Open On Time Next Month…


English: Overbrook High School in Philadelphia...

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference yesterday (August 8, 2013) in response, to the “doomsday budget” that school superintendent William Hite claims will threaten the opening of city schools next month. The Mayor urged city council to extend a 1 percent city sales tax to raise $50 million so they can rehire an adequate number of workers to assure the safety of both students and faculty.

In a press conference 2 hours prior to the Mayor Nutter’s response, Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. informed the residents of Philadelphia, that there is needs to be an initial $50 million commitment from the city, no later than August 16,2013 (which is next week) in order to assure the doors will period, offering an ultimatum: “show us the money or schools won’t open on time”and will otherwise be unsafe”While we make priorities around a lot of other things, it seems like we’re always a final thought, or a last thought,”… “I think we have to flip that conversation.”… “Time is running out,..  said Hite “How we begin the school year represents what the school year will be like.”he also mentioned that, without the proper funding, the alternatives include opening only some schools, opening none of them or opening on a half-day schedule.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement Thursday evening:

“For months, we have publicly voiced our concerns about the school district’s ability to open schools on time in the wake of budget cuts, school closings and the layoff of the employees who provide vital services to students and parents. The district is now finally acknowledging the severity and scope of this reality.

“We hope our elected leaders in the City of Philadelphia and Harrisburg are equally troubled by this situation, and will quickly live up to their obligation to adequately and sustainably fund our public schools.

“Though we have been forecasting this situation, it is nonetheless distressing. Equally disturbing is the notion that school employees should bear the brunt of repairing a budget deficit they did not create, or that they haven’t made sacrifices for Philadelphia’s schoolchildren. For years, our city’s educators have made personal and financial sacrifices so that their students could have the tools, supports and materials the school district couldn’t provide.

“The district’s current contract proposals will not create better schools; rather, they will cause a mass exodus of high quality educators and a deterioration of teaching and learning conditions in our schools for years to come.”

We recently reported  on the budget cuts, school closings, and massive layoffs presented and the end of the prior school year and the city’s 218 schools are set to open Sept. 9. 2013. The question is, why are they just addressing these issues?

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