As a math teacher I start with the numbers. Just a few months ago, Hite was talking about the $304 million budget gap that the District had to deal with before the end of the school year. Even with lobbying, media scrutiny, and political pressure - that number is nowhere near met. So how can he now be saying that only $50 million is necessary to open schools on time? Perhaps that is the beginning of a stream of funding he wants to secure, but it is still unclear.
While this punditry is taking place, Governor Corbett is off kayaking on vacation instead of taking a stand on a crisis affecting the largest school district in his state. To add insult to injury, the district in our capital of Harrisburg is laying off librarians to close a budget gab there. And today the new budget secretary announces the need for new "fiscal savings" which can only be translated as concessions from the teachers' union. Even Lower Merion School District has contemplated what more austere budgets would look like.
So what is a longterm, sustainable answer? In my view, it is more equitable state funding. I understand a Republican governor does not want to be known as someone who increases the size of government in this regard, but without more investment, Philadelphia will continue to lag behind other large school systems in its equality of funding and will produce mediocre student bodies.
While I do not wish to advocate for less schooling for our youth, if this situation is not fully resolved soon, I would heartily agree with those who advocate for a school boycott. And if the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers does is unable to get a contract that is fair to teachers, they should strike.