I noticed Republicans are continuing to tear down the nation’s educational system to…actually, I don’t know why, this time in Philadelphia PA.
The Philadelphia School District announced Friday is it laying off 3,783 people across entire range of district employees, from senior administrators to support staff. Superintendent of Schools William Hite made the dramatic announcement ... "The layoff notices that will be issued today are nothing less than catastrophic for our schools and our students." Beginning July 1, no guidance counselors. No secretaries. No football. No glee club. Without these employees, "our schools will be just empty shells," Hite said.
Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to get a perspective on Republicans efforts to dismantle public education, by seeing what’s being done elsewhere.
(And like Scott Walker, little has been done) to restore the deep cuts the Corbett administration has made to education funding over the past three years. As the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recently noted, state aid to basic education is still $800 million below what it was before Corbett took office.
Here's what's the Republican school yard bullies have created:
Philadelphia is cutting over $300 million in the district's $2.7 billion budget … principals will be asked to cut their schools' budgets by 25 percent. They will only receive enough funds to staff one principal and the number of teachers necessary for maximum class sizes: 30 students per class for kindergarten through 3rd grade, 33 students for all grades higher. Earlier this year, the city's education officials voted to close down 23 of the city's underenrolled schools as a money-saving measure … believed to be one of the largest to have occurred in the nation.
The state has a major role in the shortfalls. Oddly, many of the stories covering this mess don’t mention the Republicans role in this at all. I did find one that brought up the usual business tax cuts and what is basically a tax free natural gas giveaway that won’t benefit state residents:
City Controller Alan Butkovitz called on lawmakers to find money to stave off the school funding crisis … said the GOP legislature should end corporate subsidies and shift the focus to restoring school funding.
Butkovitz, who was joined by other controllers and school board members from the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition, want to freeze the phaseout of the Capitol Stock and Franchise tax and implement a tax on natural-gas drilling to raise an estimated $560 million for education.
Philadelphia is so broke the city is closing 23 public schools, never mind that it has the cash to build a $400 million prison. Construction on the penitentiary said to be "the second-most expensive state project ever" began just days after the Pennsylvania School Reform Commission voted down a plan to close only four of the 27 schools scheduled to die.