(Sing to “Oh what a beautiful morning”)
Oh what a beautiful building
Oh how it looks like a jewel
I have a sickening feeling
This couldn’t be public school.
In many ways public schools outperform charter schools as the new PCCY research shows. “Charter school students are not outperforming their traditional school peers; results are mixed at best and extremely subpar at worst,” the report concludes.
But in my opinion one area where charter schools outperform public schools is building maintenance. In every charter school I’ve entered, the schools are beautifully painted and maintained.
At a charter school there are never icy 50 degree temperatures in classrooms, auditoriums where the students huddle in their overcoats, water dripping because roofs are not repaired, water fountains taped up and useless due to lead in the pipes Nor was there a building tragedy like the boiler exploding at F.S. Edmunds which killed a custodian. The hardwood floors in my old classroom started to buckle and rise like frozen waves after a plumbing leak. The floors remained that way – over a year- until someone from the region tripped and then the slow leak was again fixed and the floor was replaced with cheap linoleum tiles. Maybe we should ask yourselves, as Rev. Holston said, “why we have to paint that wall ever year on MLK day?”
“Research has shown how factors like poor temperature control, indoor air quality and lighting can negatively affect student learning. Other research has suggested it could even boost teacher retention,” said the Post’s Rachel Cohen 1/2018.
What parents and community want is not hidden. At every priority school meeting parents want back what was taken from their schools – support staff, librarians, assistant principals, smaller classrooms, and always a clean, well maintained building.
The school district always answers that it doesn’t have the money but here are some cost saving measures that could be used for building maintenance:
The biggest expense comes from charter schools according to Uri Monson. Each year more charters are approved despite taking money from traditional public schools and despite minimal academic results. “And while charter performance is uneven, charter costs keep rising – in 2016, the state’s public districts spent $1.5 billion to run charters. Recent research indicates that Philadelphia, for example, has $8,125 in “stranded costs” when each district student leaves for a charter school.” wrote Kristen Graham January 10, 2018.
Another costly expense that the school district could eliminate is the privatization of services and programs that had previously been performed in-house. In my career, professional development was always done by school district staff.
Now we have:
Allocatons for the Wallace Foundation; $100,000 Contract with IO Education for professional development.
How about the money given to Jounce? Cambridge? Temple Univ. for professional development or research.
$60 million for a Catapault contract for high needs students?
An allocation of a $50,000 Contract with Mighty Engine, Inc. – for Public Communications Services. Do we need an advertising agency? What does the district get for this service?
Money allocated to outsource Head Start services to private vendors to the tune of $688,500.
Then there’s money spent for substitute services and lots of money spent on law firms.
We ask the parents what they want for their children and then ignore what they want. They want well maintained schools. We can’t depend on GoFundMe campaigns to fund the upkeep of our schools.