Education Funding

Red Ink Revisits Phila. Schools

By Lesli A. Maxwell — November 13, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Nearly five years after a budget crisis helped prompt state officials to take over the Philadelphia public schools, Pennsylvania’s largest district is grappling again with financial woes.

Faced with a $73.3 million shortfall in a $1.8 billion annual budget, Chief Executive Officer Paul G. Vallas outlined spending cuts to bridge the gap for members of the School Reform Commission and the public last week.

Mr. Vallas called for eliminating 150 administrative positions, cutting pay for administrators who earn more than $100,000 a year, and reducing payments to the six outside managers who run 45 schools in the city.

“We’re not touching anything in the schools,” said Amy Guerin, a spokeswoman for the district. “We are not cutting teachers, not cutting arts and music, not coaches, nurses, or librarians.”

News of the deficit, announced last month, has prompted sharp criticism of Mr. Vallas, the district’s chief since 2002 and a former schools chief and city budget director in Chicago. Members of the reform commission, which serves as the school board, also have been lambasted for the 178,000-student district’s unexpected financial slide.

The panel has hired a former district official to do an audit.

Mr. Vallas told the The Philadelphia Inquirer last month that several factors caused the shortfall, including a large number of retirements, especially among teachers who were paid for accrued sick days, personal days, and other benefits, a lower-than-expected return of unspent funds from schools, and an increase in payments to charter schools.

The local teachers’ union disputes some of Mr. Vallas’ explanation for the gap, particularly the retirements, which totaled 389. “The retirements are almost always between 200 and 400 each year,” said Barbara Goodman, the spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, a 21,000-member affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

Ms. Goodman said the union is calling for a moratorium on charter schools. The district spends too much on them, she said.

“The district, no doubt, has been moving in a positive direction over these last few years,” Ms. Goodman said. “So what’s happening now is very distressing, like we are going back to the bad days.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2006 edition of Education Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP