Barbara Dowdall SRC testimony – April 21, 2016

Barbara Dowdall SRC testimony April 21, 2016.

Penny Wise; Pound Foolish: Progress Lost

Or, in the case of our sorry substitute shortage:

Penny Pinching, Union Busting; Dollar Disastrous; Student Suffering.

First, the reduction of staff in the office serving substitutes.

Then, cutting off retirees from serving as subs.

Inevitable, the cry goes out: “Not enough subs!”

Save money (except for the $34 million) by mass dismissal of the experienced, reducing pay rate, pulverizing pension fund.

Achievement: Dramatic drop in available substitutes, system-wide shock as staff must cover for non-existent subs, rosters disrupted, preparation periods go “Poof!” and quality of instruction takes a nose dive. Struggling schools then easier to label as “failures.”

Expense of paying for lost preps through the roof (or maybe not if cancellation of contract can continue).

The cost is in learning and lives, not ledgers.

Barbara McDowell Dowdall     English/Academic Department Head (Retired)

A Phillip Randolph Technical High School

Member, Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS)

For further research:

Everyone loves saving money, cutting back, and reducing expenses. However, sometimes there is a tendency to focus on the wrong things. While you’re busy feeling good about reducing little costs here and there, every once in a while you neglect the larger picture.

– See more at:

10 Examples of How You Can Be Penny Wise, Pound Foolish – See more at:

Saving several hundred dollars by not hiring a tax accountant to review complicated situations, but later owing the IRS thousands in fees and penalties. – See more at:

In their zeal to cut spending, they’re also cutting the spending that’s there to prevent overspending.*

Whatever the reason, the effect will be the same: a higher likelihood of pricey disasters, an easier time for fraudsters, and bigger price tags when we have to rebuild what we could’ve just repaired.

*School ops

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today detailed the impact of looming automatic budget cuts, saying they would force schools to lay off teachers and eliminate services for students while indiscriminately reducing programs that serve Americans of all ages.

“Essentially, we’re playing chicken with the lives of the American people – our schools, communities, small businesses, farms, public safety, infrastructure and national security,” Secretary Duncan told members of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. “If we don’t work together to solve this problem, it further erodes what little faith remains in our elected leadership to put partisan politics aside and do the right thing for children and families.”

Starving America’s Public Schools

Critics of America’s public schools always seem to start from the premise that the pre-kindergarten-through-12th-grade public education system in this country is failing or in crisis.

This crisis mentality is in stark contrast to years of survey research showing that Americans generally give high marks to their local schools. Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup surveys have found that the populace holds their neighborhood schools in high regard; in fact, this year’s survey found that “Americans, and parents in particular, evaluate their community schools more positively than in any year since” the survey started.


How Creative Can School Cuts Be?

Pennsylvania’s state political leadership passed and approved a new budget this year that cut $851 million from public schools. Pennsylvania ranks seventh among states in the amount of public school funds being sent to private schools. The state redirects $52 million per year through various types of tax credit programs.