by Karel Kilimnik
March 13, 2017
This month’s resolutions show the continued privatization and outsourcing for professional development and other services that historically have been provided by district employees. Instead of recruiting and supporting educators who are knowledgeable about their subject and able to provide support to all schools, Dr. Hite and the SRC continue to pay vendors with no ties to Philadelphia or any commitment to long-term service to the students or the community. Not only is this a questionable use of taxpayer dollars, it is insulting to the district’s teachers and school professionals. Look around and see the amazing things that teachers are doing without adequate resources. They nurture and support each other as collaborative projects are created for their students. Teachers are holding this district together with ingenuity and determination and yes, grit. We see so many stories in the local press about the remarkable work teachers are doing every day—yet the “cash-strapped” district’s dollars continue to flow to the private sector, depriving our students of the experience of dedicated district educators.
SRC Delivers Public Assets to Private Interests
Resolution A-10 continues the selling of vacant school buildings. Rapid gentrification is taking place in many Philadelphia neighborhoods. Shuttered school buildings are prime targets of developers and realtors driving this gentrification. The W.S. Peirce School sits at the edge of one such area in South Philadelphia. The Alterra Company is listed as the buyer. Many questions go unanswered in this tersely worded resolution. What is the asking price? What has Alterra offered? What is the market value? Communities are seeing that these vacant properties can either be given the tools to strengthen their neighborhood or be priced out of current residents’ reach.
WHAT IF… ?
What if that $150,000 for Relay Graduate School of Education, $3 million for Carnegie Learning, and $15 million for the Children’s Literacy Initiative were spent in classrooms? Let’s look at what $18 million could buy instead of putting it into the pockets of private companies. After all, there have been no raises or steps increases for PFT members since 2014. With that $18,150,000, the district could hire 160 counselors or nurses, 105 assistant vice-principals, or 428 school aides. This would help to build a thriving school district where the focus is on meeting every child’s needs instead of the yearly piecemeal diversion of funds into a few selected schools.
Note: The next two SRC meetings are Thursday March 16 and Thursday March 23 at 4:30 PM. Call 215.400.4180 by 3:30 the day before to sign up to speak.