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District: 3,800 positions may be eliminated

By Paul Socolar on Apr 27, 2011 02:55 PM

[Updated 11:30 p.m.] Cutting back to half-day kindergarten across the city, eliminating transportation services for most District students, and slashing school discretionary budgets by nearly one-third are just a few of the grim new District budget measures announced Wednesday.

District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch outlined the 2011-12 District budget at an afternoon press briefing and again at a special budget hearing after Wednesday's regular meeting of the School Reform Commission. Faced with the unhappy task of closing a $629 million gap representing a full 20 percent of the system's budget, he repeatedly expressed his openness to any ideas for a better way to deal with the financial predicament.

One opportunity will be the first of six community meetings on the budget, which takes place next Tuesday, May 3 at 6 p.m. at Meredith Elementary in Queen Village.

The SRC was getting its first look at the full budget at the evening session. Coming on the heels of a marathon afternoon meeting, the commission's discussion was brief, but the gutting of the District's transportation program provoked pointed questions from commissioners. Roughly 50,000 students would lose their bus service or free TransPasses.

"These cuts were agonized over, and thought about carefully, and considered deeply, and represent our best effort to present to you a plan that is realistic and balanced," Masch responded. But he said the challenge facing the system was "unprecedented."

"There's never been an instance in which resources have declined this much in a single year," he said. "We didn't have any good choices; we only had bad choices. We're open to any good idea for how to do this better than what we have before you."

District budget materials and other documents provided stark details about upcoming cuts, including the first estimates of the number of positions that will need to be eliminated to close a $629 million gap:

If Governor Corbett’s budget proposal is passed, the District will be forced to cut the workforce by more than 3,800 (16%), including over 400 members of Central Office staff, accounting for a 50% personnel reduction at District headquarters, and 1,260 teachers (12%). Nearly 650 Noontime Aides, almost 400 Custodians, over 180 Counselors and 51 Nurses would also face job loss.

The cuts are prompted by what Masch called "an unprecedented level of decline" in District funding. Overall District revenue will decrease by $377 million, or 12 percent. He said it is the first time in decades that the District has faced a revenue decline.

"Virtually every cut is a cut in positions," said Masch. The budget "is balanced with a great deal of pain."

Families of young children face cuts in early childhood education on top of the end of full-day kindergarten. A statement from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers decried the fact that 1,000 fewer preschoolers will be served by early childhood programs next year.

The scaling back of kindergarten, Masch said, "was one of the most painful decisions. ... We're hoping it doesn't take place."

The District's "budget in brief" document, released Wednesday, includes sections describing how the financial situation could get worse and how it could get better in the next few months, depending mainly on funding and legislative decisions in Harrisburg.

With bad funding news, he said the District might have to cut the remaining funding in areas such as instrumental music ($6.7 million), summer school ($21 million), athletics ($7.1 million), and the remaining half-day kindergarten program ($25 million).

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Comments (117)

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on April 27, 2011 3:39 pm

This is not the fault of the just Governor Corbett. The SDP and SRC have allowed the District's spending to spiral out of control. With $280m less from the State, that still leaves an over $300m shortfall that was created by the SRC/SDP itself. Masch and Ackerman are the creators of this mess, the Governor's cut is just salt in the already festering wound.

I disagree with Jerry and a number of my fellow teachers and say that we should indeed take a paycut to save as many of our fellow teachers' positions but many will not do so, claiming falsely that "we already took a cut by not having a raise this year." There is a difference between a raise and a paycut. We've not taken a cut but many, MANY other Districts across the region and country have to make sure that as many jobs as possible would be saved.

That said, this is still a mess the District has created and now they will pin it on Corbett and the teachers. Sad, sad, sad.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 7:51 pm

I'm with Audax with regards to taking a pay cut. I think that most of the teachers in my building would forego the next raise, if teaching positions in our school would be saved, as a result. If we don't agree to some sort of concession, we add fuel to the bonfire that Republican governors across the nation are stoking.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 27, 2011 8:05 pm

Wrong. If we agree to the sort of concessions you and Audax suggest, we will create a precedent that will make our union worthless.

We're already making $20-25,000 less a year than suburban teachers - and we face significantly greater challenges. On top of that, we spend much of our own money on needy students. How can you think of giving up more?

The governor wants to spend money building jails rather than schools. He wants to give breaks to oil companies at the expense of the working man and woman - and their children. How can anyone claim he is not the villain in this piece?

When our superintendent makes more money than the mayor and governor combined - without factoring in her bonus or housing allowance - how can anyone meekly allow their wages to be cut or their benefits to be reduced. If you want to lie down and take it, fine. Fortunately, most of us will stand strong against those who will again force us to shoulder the burden for higher-ups vast mistakes.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:57 pm

Agree. It is not the job of the teachers to fund the public schools. It's the job of the state, city, and federal government.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:55 pm

Thank You!!! Its about time someone sees the light. These comments by those who say teachers should take yet another pay freeze either have their head in the clouds or are new teachers to the district who have no idea what it means to work hard and earn a decent living.

People need to realize that other districts also give $1000 stipends to their teachers for school supplies while Philly teachers get a $100. That doesn't cover a minute amount for school supplies.

The District/SRC/Ackerman have destroyed this School System. They overspent and are fiscally irresponsible. Jerry Jordan was right when he said that the budget should not be balanced on the backs of our teachers. The teachers did not mispend federal stimulus money---THE DISTRICT DID!!!!

Submitted by phillysbest (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:29 am

Simply put: I'd REALLY like to see Michael Masch manage the budget completely and suggest shutting down 440 North Broad Street....EVEN IF WE TAKE A LOSS ON RENTING THE PROPERTY. I can't imagine the cost involved in running that building. Place Ackemerman and her staff in the schools where they are truly needed. They can also make up for some of the manpower we will lose as a result of their negligence.

Isn't she the one who said VICTORY IS IN THE CLASSROOM!!!! HOWEVER, SHE DOESN'T SPEND ANY TIME IN THE SCHOOLS.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:05 pm

$20-25,000 a year less than suburban teachers? I think that's a pretty creative comparison. Starting salaries are not that different, generally. There are some difference as experience increases, but you have to get to the extremes in experience to get differences of $20,000 - $25,000 a year. The averages are a misleading numbers, since suburban teachers tends to have more years of experience.

I agree that Philadelphia public teachers have a more difficult job, and should probably get paid at least as much/more than suburban teachers. But exaggerating the pay difference isn't going to garner much additional support.

Submitted by ChildrenFirst (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:55 pm

It is neither extreme nor creative. My colleague's husband is a teacher in Bucks County. He has a master's equivalent rather than a master's degree. She has two master's degrees. He makes $25,000 more a year than she does (and he does not work for Council Rock).

Submitted by Tara (not verified) on April 28, 2011 5:43 pm

I can attest to those numbers as well. There was a school district in Delaware County that posted the salaries of the their teachers as far as years experiences and degrees. I would earn $22,000 more in that school district than I currently make working for the SDP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:25 am

Older teachers are totally safe from these layoffs so of course they are unwilling to concede anything. They'll still get to keep their jobs come September. Younger teachers are screwed and are willing to make short-term sacrifices to keep their jobs. Both parties are acting from self-interest. At this point the union is totally useless. I think the SRC needs to threaten to use, and if the PFT does not come to the table actually use its authority to dictate terms. The best move the PFT could make right now to help all of its members, not just those who had the benefit of being born earlier than other members, would be to encourage as many of those teacher eligible to take the retirement package offered to do so.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:39 am

I am not a huge fan of the PFT or many positions of teacher's unions in general, but I think that the SDP needs to find ways to cut spending in many other ways before staffing cuts or PFT contract re-negotiations. The contracts that should go first are the ones with publishers to provide unnecessary interventions that are inappropriate and no better (often worse) than the materials that a classroom teacher could create during a prep period. Next, ax the benchmarks. Many teachers could write a better and more aligned test, for the cost of a few hundred sheets of copy paper and an hour or two of Professional Development pay. You can't ask teachers to pick up the slack, give them little support, and then ask them to take pay cuts until you've squeezed every penny out of every other area in the budget.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 2:15 pm

Yeah push for teachers to take the early retirement package!!!!

But if teachers take a cut in pay or freeze that will take it to 2 years and 4 months with no raise. If that sthe case then tell the District to pay for the teachers out of pocket expenses for school supplies!!! What are teachers a stomping ground??? Give up things and it will contiune to the point where you will have no one to represent you and you'll get an even worse salary than you already have. Must be another new teacher that doesn't know how its done and has no clue what teachers in this city have dealt with for years!!!

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on April 29, 2011 2:28 pm

If extended daya nd summer school get cut - that is a pay cut for many of us.

Submitted by Seeking Serious Reporting (not verified) on April 29, 2011 12:06 am

We have to become a little less self-centered here and think about what's good for all of us in the long run.

More experienced teachers have paid their dues and deserve the protection to which you refer. They also deserve not to have their salaries and benefits - hard-earned - jeopardized by individuals with much less experience who can't see past their own needs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2011 8:45 pm

YES< I agree---That guy is a dunce who is playing right into Corbett's hands. It's all about politics and destroying unions so the democrats will never win another election. He's probably a young person who simply doesn't understand what you and I already know. Hopefully, he'll learn the easy way rather than the hard way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:43 pm

You are EXACTLY WRONG. You're playing right into their hands. It's time to fight not concede anything to these Tea Party Nuts. The American People will have had enough of them and they'll go the way of the Edsel IF we resist. Never give in to bullies and these nuts give bully a bad name.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:32 pm

And now the PFT endorses Nutter???? He has done nothing to help the situation at all!! I didn't endorse him.

Maybe Jordan knows something we don't (as in maybe Nutter will axe Ackerman and replace Archie). If he does that then he'll get my vote.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:37 pm

That is exactly what I hope too. Why would Jordan endorse Nutter who has been a zero and who deflects all responsibility from the Queen 24/7. We can only hope but don't hold your breath. I know I'm not. Ackerman, Archie, Porter, Gamble and Evans are all crooks and they all need to be expelled from the school process and the Charter Fiasco--Charade.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:53 pm

I agree. The only way Nutter will get my vote, though, is by axing Arlene.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:03 pm

I'm frustrated by Nutter's lack of actions / silence. But who IS the alternative? Milton Street? Because that's a pathway to less corruption?

Submitted by Tom Bishop (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:51 pm

When is the labor movement going to run its own candidates and form its own political party? How long are we going to keep giving our money and time to these Democratic politicians who forget us the day after the election?

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:30 am

I wouldn't vote for either of them. I may have to write in a candidate, because I treasure my right to vote, but wouldn't support either of them. Ironically, I'd vote for John Street if he ran as an independent. Nutter makes me appreciate him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2011 10:50 pm

Nutter has a video on You Tube in which Jerry Jordan says the PFT voted to endorse him. When was this vote held? I don't remember anybody asking me if I wanted Philly's Erkel to do another term.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 1, 2011 8:47 am

I agree--what nonsense !!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:45 pm

Another one who must be a new teacher to this district. You haven't had a raise in 16 months yet you want another one for another year. Lets see that equates to 2 years and 4 months with no raise.

READ MY OTHER POST TO THE OTHER COMMENT ABOUT THIS.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:07 pm

Teachers haven't had a raise in 16 months. So add another 1 year pay freeze and you get no raise for 2 years and 4 months???? Are you kidding me??? The work that is done by Philadelphia teachers deserves the raise. Keep in mind that Philly teachers are at the bottom of the pay scale compared to: Abington Twp, Cheltenham Twp, Upper Moreland Twp, Lower Moreland Twp, and the list goes on and on.

Also keep in mind all of the out of pocket expenses that Philly teachers incur. While suburban districts give $1000 stipends to teachers for school supplies, Philly gives its teachers a whopping $100!!!

Those other districts are taking pay cuts/freezes because they can afford to do so because they make substantially more than you do. You must be a new teacher to this District. Wake up!!

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:33 pm

Who pays teachers the best for their time? Hint...it is not the USA.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljy48yJbTA1qedj2ho1_500.jpg

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:42 pm

I agree 100% and you can't give in to Corbett or he'll continue to bully---just like the Queen by the way. It's time to fight Corbett but not until the Queen is banished far, far away. We have NO credibility with her around.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2011 10:40 pm

Has anyone noticed that the district hasn't asked us for our receipts for this year? Are they going to try and weasel out of pay the measley $100 they give us once a year?

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on April 30, 2011 11:54 pm

Your receipts should have been collected and handed in by last Friday. In our school, the secretary has always done this--collected and handed them in to the district. Try to find out Monday from your principal what happened--hope you do not lose the $100.00.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 1, 2011 12:43 am

Usually there is an announcement, but they said nothing this year. I better not lose my $100, considering the peanuts they are paying us for buying our own supplies.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 1, 2011 9:35 am

You received your $100 on a paycheck in October. Receipts should have been turned in by the end of April. Perhaps the same person who didn't make any announcement will also not follow through with whatever procedure takes place to take back the $100?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 4:08 pm

I didn't realize Corbett was responsible for the BLOATED SRA program that every single educated professional will tell you is garbage. I guess Corbett is also responsible for over hiring teachers two years ago that just "floated" in schools. And I guess Corbett also ordered every teacher to receive a full color professional development catalog that was utterly useless. Did Corbett buy 100,000s of pins that say "Imagine It?" Sounds like Corbett has been really spending the districts money like a drunken sailor.

And I am NO FAN of Corbett. But what Ackerman and the SRC have done is beyond disgusting.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:39 pm

Exactly, the SDP has been wasting money on things like the ones you list for years! The full color brochures were a joke. It was all online, and you had to register online anyway. They spent way too much money on and in the 440 building. Corbett's no friend to Philly or education, but this cannot all be laid at his doorstep.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:25 pm

I totally agree and Corbett will use every excuse---including real ones to destroy the city school system. Ackerman should have been canned LONG AGO. The Republican Tea Party Group couldn't have asked for a better ally than Ackerman.

Submitted by Mark (not verified) on April 27, 2011 8:34 pm

You got that right. She probably hunts with Sarah Palin.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 27, 2011 8:25 pm

Without a doubt, Ackerman and the SRC shares the blame with Corbett.

I don't see any mention of the $50 million in benchmark and predictive testing being cut.

Submitted by Greatest Country on Earth (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:03 pm

The District has money. The state has money. The United States of America has money.

You worked for it, you know it exists. They're just not spending it on your kids. Or your health. Or your public transportation. Or your bridges that are falling down.

But back to the specific issue at hand, my favorite part of the press release was this:

"But, the anticipated funding cuts, now being proposed, will in fact disrupt the district's ability to serve Philadelphia's 200,000 public school students and sustain the momentum of the past eight consecutive years of rising test scores and charter school expansion."

The momentum of the past eight consecutive years of... rising test scores and charter school expansion?

Huh? From the build-up, I thought maybe it was going to say we had experienced eight years of improving the drop-out rate, sending more Philadelphia students to college each year than we did the year before, seeing more and more Philadelphia students take charge of their own education, design class projects alongside their teachers, coordinate volunteer programs, get involved in their communities, tutor younger students, visit more college campuses, etc. etc. You know, some actual measure of education that improves the functioning of one's mind, builds character, and leads to more and better options in life.

Nope. Eight years of rising test scores and charter school expansion.

Eight years of empty numbers and increasing privatization of everything that the American public once valued. Now the value of education is: Which companies can get in on the money? Everything is for sale, even your child's education.

Great. Hate to disrupt that. Would that we could.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:33 pm

WOW--YOU are my hero. Yes, Corporate Schools USA. Test Scores that are meaningless. Just teach to the test. Mindless nonsense.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 7:39 pm

Amen. I am also surprised at how honest this assessment is of Ackerman's true contribution.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 6:56 am

Excellent response. I am tired of not having enough time in my class to actually teach since I am bombarded with test prep and test schedules. The joy that I had for 15 years, watching students change before my eyes as they learned about themselves and how to actually learn are lost in what now feels like a mass production of pointless data.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:29 pm

Any way the great journalists at the Notebook could live blog the SRC meeting? I wish I could be there.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on April 27, 2011 6:51 pm

Here's an update from the meeting.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:33 pm

Mr. Masch frequently has difficulty adding figures, so these very specific numbers are may be estimates. A quick parsing of the expected savings comes to more than the latest admitted gap, so it can be reasonably expected that these will be revised AFTER layoffs.

Rather than crippling or eliminating programs known to be effective, like early childhood, other areas should be considered. Why not close the high schools, since these are the least successful parts of the SDP, and will only get worse when the effects of cutting early childhood programs are felt in 8 years? Dwight Evans and Kenny Gamble can be given the buildings, or they can be turned into prisons.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:32 pm

I vote for Kenny Gamble because he is such a fine educator. Ask ANYBODY in Point Breeze and they'll GLADLY tell what kind of person Gamble is. You won't have to ask twice.

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on April 27, 2011 5:50 pm

You haven't been paying attention: you don't get to vote. No one does. You just get to pay. And pay. And pay.

Submitted by Seeking Serious Reporting (not verified) on April 28, 2011 11:03 pm

Notice that Mr. Masch didn't seem to know how many teachers applied to retire. The district DOES know, however. There's a reason those figures are not being provided.

Submitted by Mayday (not verified) on April 27, 2011 6:14 pm

Ackerman and the SRC are disgraces beyond measure. They created this mess; Corbett's actions are just the icing on the cake (and provide an oh-so-convenient and timely scapegoat.) 12% of teachers gone? 180 counselors? Specialist teachers, decimated? Only we front line staff really get what an impact this will have. Philadelphia schools are about to descend into chaos. Watch, and weep - or DO SOMETHING! All educators, tenured and non-tenured, need to stand up NOW. Parents, we need you with us.

Non-involved Teachers: if you were ostriching before because your job is secure, how do you like the prospect of 40 kids in your classroom? (Oh, that's violating the contract? You can't strike, dears. Get real.) Complacent Counselors: think you have no time for actual counseling now? You will REALLY be nothing but a paper pusher very, very soon. You won't have time for that 7th grader whose brother got shot last night, or the 5th grade girl who feels unwanted and unloved by Dad's new girlfriend, or the 1st grader who keeps showing his lizard to his classmates. Checked-Out Parents: I know you have many more important things to do, and that your lives are complicated, and that you have things going on and business to take care of ...blah blah blah. But maybe you could wake up now that you'll need 1/2 day babysitting for your kindergartners.

We should be at the doorsteps of Ackerman, the SRC, and the Mayor every day - teachers, counselors, principals, parents, students. We need to scream and scream loud. I will - will you?

Or don't. And see what happens when the right to a decent education is removed from our national ethic.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 8:22 pm

Marching ain't going to get it. They don't care !!!!!! And by they, I mean, Nutter, Ackerman and the rest. Corbett loves it and he will use it when he decimates the city schools. Ackerman etc. continue to skim and scam and they're getting away with it. We're DONE unless we fight back with malice.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:40 pm

Amen.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 6:51 pm

And Pay some more, I totally agree. Did I say, Pay MORE and MORE.

Submitted by Mayday (not verified) on April 27, 2011 6:30 pm

[Sent to all employees of the School District of Philadelphia late this afternoon:]

April 27, 2011

DISTRICT BUDGET UPDATE

Dear Colleagues:

Under Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal, the School District of Philadelphia faces a severe reduction in funding. The District stands to lose $292 million in funding, including $107M of Basic Education funding; $110M of Charter School Reimbursement; $55M of Accountability Block Grant funding; $19M of Educational Assistance funding; and $1M for Dual Enrollment programs. This represents close to a 10% reduction in the District's overall funding, compared to 2010-11 and would force the District to go from a budget of $3.2 billion to a budget of $2.7 billion.

Today, I provided an update on what the cuts would mean to District personnel and programs. The presentation also outlined the efforts that the District has taken to try to save certain programs in the midst of budget planning, especially those initiatives tied to Imagine 2014 school reform plan.

If Governor Corbett's budget proposal is passed, the District will be forced to cut the workforce by more than 3,800 (16%), including over 400 members of Central Office staff, accounting for a 50% personnel reduction at District headquarters, and 1,260 teachers (12%). Nearly 650 Noontime Aides, almost 400 Custodians, over 180 Counselors and 51 Nurses would also face job loss.

These decisions were not made easily and the District will continue to look at a number of ways to forego having to make the drastic cuts that will have to be made if Governor Corbett's budget is passed. Seventy percent of the District's budget is mandated and the District has to present a balanced budget each fiscal year. The District recognizes the great financial challenges currently facing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we are prepared to do our part to deal with these challenges. But, the anticipated funding cuts, now being proposed, will in fact disrupt the district's ability to serve Philadelphia's 200,000 public school students and sustain the momentum of the past eight consecutive years of rising test scores and charter school expansion.

As we move forward, we hope that the Governor and legislature will be open to discussing and exchanging ideas before a final budget is adopted. The District is committed to providing a system of great schools for the students of Philadelphia.

Sincerely,

Michael Masch
Chief Financial Officer

[How Orwellian is this? A disturbingly sick instant rewriting of the facts for the proles who are supposed to buy this blatant bull.]

Submitted by Martha (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:37 am

When will this vote occur?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 8:17 pm

Of course, there is absolutely no discussion of cutting back on TESTING. I've got an idea: why not merge Benchmarks and Predictive Benchmarks? Is anybody talking about the cost of shipping all those booklets (let alone developing and printing the content)? Of course not.

Because as we cut teachers' jobs and cut back on services to our kids, we cannot leave any behind by not testing the living daylights out of them to the point where they never actually get the chance to learn.

It's good to know that children come first.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 27, 2011 9:25 pm

Testing is probably the biggest waste of money - and it's environmentally irresponsible to boot. But there are kickbacks to be made from contracting with testing companies. Kindergartners can't afford to compete.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:39 pm

One thing I'm bothered by is that were apparently 400 unnecessary central administrative positions. As both a teacher and a taxpayer, I fully support funding for education, but I'm not a huge fan of paying lots of "educators" to sit around the central office doing work that, apparently (since they are all getting laid off), wasn't that essential.

I find the ultra-conservative / tea party view too extreme, but I do find some value in the idea that if you are going to pay people with tax money, they better actually be doing something useful -- and if there were 400 people working at 440 that were expendable, that is a little disturbing to me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:49 pm

400 unnecessary central administrative positions? That's offensive to the people at the central office who strive to answer the calls of teachers who only have a short window of time to make a call (prep, etc). You are perpetuating the myth that people in the central office don't do anything. Walk a mile in our shoes. If you think we are expendable, let's see how you feel after July 1 when you have a question you want answered. We are at 440 to support those in the field. That ain't gonna be happening much after July 1. Looks like you aren't too worried about that. At least not until it affects you personally.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:17 am

I agree. Teachers shouldn't scapegoat 440 employees any more than Arlene and the politicians scapegoat teachers.

If you believe the 440 positions are unnecessary, you must also believe the 1,000+ teachers they're threatening to cut are unnecessary. Let's remember how we want to be treated.

The 440 deadwood won't be going anywhere. One sits in the superintendent's office.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:11 am

Actually I did have questions last summer, and four emails to human resources went unanswered and my paperwork was lost twice. I got both a high level administrator and a principal to respond to my questions faster than the people whose "jobs" it was to answer my questions.

I've also sat through many presentations from people who work at 440 who have completely lost touch with what reality is like in schools. I don't doubt that they are dedicated people who try hard. But I doubt that an office at 440 is the most effective place for them to be working.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:05 pm

This whole thing is so terribly sad. I am a new teacher in fear of being laid off. In view of the circumstances, it may be likely that I will not ever be called back for my job.
I know like many other teachers, I put my heart and soul into my job. No expense was ever too great for my students. I feel like I did not even get a chance to prove myself in becoming an even better teacher.

My heart goes out to all teachers in fear of losing their jobs. I wish they would let us know so that we can try to make sense out of this and try to cope with this.

I feel like my heart has been ripped out, and I have been robbed of true happiness in doing what I love.

I wish everyone the best---including the new teachers who probably will be the first to go.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:27 am

Please take heart. The district is offering a doomsday scenario for dramatic effect. If you are laid off, you'll get unemployment until you're rehired, which shouldn't be later than October, during re-organization. With all of the impending retirements, the number of lay-offs may be much smaller than presented. Often, teachers coming in during October end up with better choices when the time comes to "pick" a school. It is scary, of course, but if you're laid off, you'll be back.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 6:18 am

For those of you who are new teachers, please understand that you WILL be called back.. many times when we hear lay off we think about how lay offs impact corporate america. companies lose money, they lay folks off and those people never come back because in corporate if they get the money back, they use it for other things..

Education is DIFFERENT.. Every teacher laid off must be called back before a NEW teacher in that license is hired. So lets say 50 teachers are laid off, there is a list of them... and every time a teacher retires, move, or quits, the district goes to that list and calls the next person on it to take that position. they keep doing that until every one is off the list. AT MOST it will be a school year.. Probably less than that..

I am a 1st yr non tenured teacher who has years of experience in another district. We MUST stand together.. WE MUST not accept a pay freeze. WE MUST not give any benefits back. Now is not the time to split.. the union is not throwing new teachers under the bus. It is imperative that we stand together.

What the union may want to consider doing (or should have already actually) is an emergency fund for laid off teachers who may find themselves in emergency situations. This will show new-er teachers that should something happen the union is going to be able to offer emergency assistance should you need it.

Last point, these numbers (1260) are just NUMBERS.. they use them for dramatic effect and to cause an impact. If you notice, every 2-3 weeks the district puts out some sort of doomsday press release.. Then the union office gets flooded with calls and then it dies down until the next time. Don't let the scare tactics get to you.

Submitted by Mark (not verified) on April 28, 2011 7:10 am

Awesome post, especially the last paragraph. I remember a couple months ago it was "every teacher who was in the district for less than three years." Now it's down to less than 1300. After retirees and attrition, I would say that number will probably be close to 0 in September.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on April 28, 2011 11:01 am

You are absolutely right. I am a second year teacher, and as a union member I vote for NO to pay freeze. Although I feel depressed about possible layoff, I refuse to support the race to the bottom imposed on us by rich and powerful.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 2:17 pm

Any newer teacher should start saving up, buckle down for the storm and then we weather it out until we are called back. (I say we because I am the same poster from 2 posts up)

'Also, keep in mind that not only are we do for a raise in January, the current contract is up in August. I won't put it in capitals so it looks like I'm screaming but please know I am saying it LOUD.. All of this is just postering for the contract negotiations..

If they keep crying broke, then they can say they don't have the money to put a raise in the 2012 contract..

If they keep talking about how they will have to lay off the new, young teachers, they can argue to eliminate more of the seniority protections that we have..

If they keep saying that they have to eliminate NTA's and School aides, they can try to write the teachers into duty filled preps like hall duty and cafeteria duty..

they are setting themselves up to fight our contract demands.. the last thing we need to do is allow them to split us down the middle.. STAND UNION STRONG.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 7:25 am

**sorry I used the wrong due in the second paragraph.. that should be due for a raise, not do for a raise..* :)

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 10:43 pm

You are 100 percent right - and I agree with those who have commended your post. It turns out there are more people retiring than teaching positions to cut. This slash-fest is meant to rouse the public (I hope it does) and bully unions into re-negotiating (our leaders better not cave).

I like the idea of an emergency fund. I'd contribute. Teachers laid off should also save their first few months of unemployment insurance and continue to live off of the reserve salaries we all get during the summer months. I doubt anyone will be out of work past early October.

Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on April 27, 2011 10:25 pm

It will be interesting to see what the union does. Will they grant concessions to save jobs, or throw the younger teachers under the bus? My guess is the latter. It's what unions do.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:16 am

We've gone through this before, but it's not throwing younger teachers under the bus to maintain a strong union. Perhaps because you're young, you aren't looking at the big picture here. If the union agrees to more concessions, the younger teachers will suffer as much as anyone else.

Again, STOP PANICKING. Anyone who is laid off will be back at work by mid-October. And with all of the impending retirements, it's very possible the number of lay-offs will be much smaller than feared.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:43 am

Hey Teach, tell you what, if it's not that big a deal, how about when I get my lay-off notice as a 2nd year teacher you take the hit for me so I can stay at my school with my kids?

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 28, 2011 10:36 pm

Anonymous, how about you stop panicking? Notice that the district hasn't mentioned how many people are retiring. Turns out there are almost 2,000 - which is more than the number of teachers they plan to lay off. This is all a game.

If you don't look at the big picture, you end up repeating the mistakes of the past. One of those mistakes is allowing a union of 11,000 to sacrifice hard-earned benefits due to a temporary situation. You've worked for the district for two years. You've paid some dues and are safer than others - but others have put in 10, 15, 20 years and don't deserve to be stripped of the benefits they've earned. Most of them could have left the city for more lucrative - and more peaceful - positions, but they chose to stay as hopefully you will, too. You give away too much and you rob them of what they've earned - and yourself of your future earnings/benefits, along with everyone else.

If you are laid off, you'll be able to collect unemployment until you're called back - which you will be. You can even collect during the summer months, when the rest of us are living off our reserve. So take a few breaths and stop lashing out and selling out. This drama will play itself out and everyone will claim to be the hero who saved the district. So take a few breaths and wait things out, all the time appreciating your students during these last few months of the school year.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on April 28, 2011 11:48 am

Most of the younger generation don't see any value in the union. They are up for a rude awakening, though, when the union is destroyed and we are all working for starvation wages.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 1:07 pm

A. You have a union by the grace of the SRC. If the board wanted to it could force the PFT to accept whatever terms it pleases, and you can't strike.
B. Starvation wages? Hardly! In Philadelphia, a starting teacher with a bachelor's degree makes more money than a starting assistant district attorney, who has a doctoral degree. And that is NOT counting the PFT's benefits package. Does anyone want to argue that an ADA's job is not dangerous? Or that an ADA does not have to work as long, if not longer than a teacher in his or her job?
C. Isn't there some dissonance coming from the PFT now? The claim is always this is about the kids. Laying off teachers leads to larger class sizes. Larger class sizes is bad for the kids. Doesn't it logically follow that if the PFT really does want what's best for the kids it would work to ensure that as many teachers as possible are in the classroom?

As a closing comment, yes, Ackerman is awful. She should be fired, jailed, etc. She mismanaged everything imaginable. Saying these things may be cathartic but they don't change the facts on the ground. How do we fix the problem, keeping in mind that we cannot fire anyone of the people responsible?

Submitted by Herb (not verified) on April 28, 2011 2:31 pm

Where do I start.

Yes teachers are not permitted to strike but the union does not exist by the grace of the SRC. Thank you for demonizing the working class and remember that the teachers as well as all other PSD workers were not the reason for the skyrocketing deficits. The last paragraph in your rant confirms that.

As for wages, both an ADA and a teacher work long hours and long hours that they are not paid for. For teachers, weekends are spent grading papers, working on lesson plans and doing other paperwork that cannot be done during school hours simply because there isn't time. Weekends are spent buying supplies for the classroom. I spend close to $1,000.00 each year on supplies and classsroom material. the PSD gives me $100.00. No one is complaining about doing it, teachers just do it. It's people like you that like to shout about their workload and benefits and everything else because obviously someone making 45K is the reason things are bad in the PSD. I invite you to visit my classroom and experience a day at school. The kids with learning disorders and emotional disorders that incidentally no charter chools will take (yeah those vouchers will really help them), the mice running around in the classroom and cleaning up their droppings each morning. Poeple like you like to shout and shout but when push comes to shove, you're nowhere to be found. If our benefits are so good to you, step up and give us a hand and be a teacher. We need all the help we can get. Lead, follow or get out of the way.
As for the PFT, teachers have not had raises in some time and are some of the lowest paid teachers in the state. We teach here because we want to be here and try to make a difference. The PFT is trying to keep teachers by offering retirement incentives so that the the up and coming teachers, the true future of the PSD, can continue to work and thrive and gain experience.
Know the facts and have some knowledge of the topic you want to write about before you hit the send button. We need real honest to goodness debates on the issues not vitriol and hate.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 2:31 pm

The problem can not be fixed but that does not exempt you from BOOBDOM, OF WHICH YOU ARE NOT A MEMBER BUT RATHER THE President. Corbett and his goon squad will be flying down from Harrisburg in their black helicopters soon enough. He'll learn us real good. You have too much time on your warped, unbalanced mind. Did I say, "Boobdom???"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 3:41 pm

Here's an idea: GET A JOB TEACHER IN PHILADELPHIA THEN TALK SMACK!!

You can say all you want tha tteachers can't strike, however, if all 10,000 teachers decide to walk like in Wisconsin, no schools will be open and there is no way that 10,000 teachers would be fired. They can't even get enough teachers here to stay so your argument is null and void. Also, a starting teacher in Philadelphia with a Bachelor's Degree makes about $43,000. Thats not a lot!!

Philly teachers also have out of pocket expenses for school supplies.

Submitted by youngphillyteacher (not verified) on April 28, 2011 3:55 pm

A. You mean we cannot strike BY LAW. I wonder, how our society would look like today, if union members hundred years ago did not risk jail, beatings and even death. All we would be risking in case of a strike is losing our jobs.
B. Re-read what I wrote. I am talking about starvation wages which wait for us in the future, if we are complacent, and accept the false narrative that our country is running out of money. The fact that an ADA is paid so little only argues that ADAs should be paid more, not that teachers should be paid less. But why look at ADAs? Why don't look at the Wall Street? Why don't look at Insurance, Energy and Military-Industrial CEOs? Isn't it where the money has gone?
C. Sure, it is about the kids. This is why PFT fights for increased funding for public education. The difference between us is: you accept the false premise that there is no money, and we don't. It is very easy to find money, in fact, if you are willing to look.
Answering your last question, before we even start thinking about what should be done in order to "fix" the problems, we need to make sure that our voice is heard. Right now the system runs on its own, no feedback whatsoever. Politicians are fed by corporations and are doing their bidding. Unless something is done to the ever-increasing costs of running for an office (public finance of political campaigns anyone?), the system will keep running on its own, and soon will run into a wall. Anyway, the answer to your question is: nothing can be done if we are complacent and accept what is handed over to us from above.

Submitted by Data misuse (not verified) on April 29, 2011 10:18 am

While you somehow got numerous people to argue with you, you are just wrong.

Starting teachers with a bachelor make $44,039. (http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/e/ee/information-center/offices/e/...)

Newly admitted bar members make at least $48,975. (http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/careers/prosecution.html)

Even teachers with master's plus 30-- which would be more years of education than a JD-- would make $48,169, which is $806 less than the new DA employees.

Oh, and don't use some "benefits" argument: both receive essentially the same package.

Frequent Notebook readers, you are in the process of having people invading the site and wantonly misusing numbers and data to make fallacious arguments. Please do not buy them all.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 5:49 pm

I know I was thrown under the bus by the union as a new teacher.

Submitted by Teach (not verified) on April 29, 2011 12:31 am

Maybe they won't allow themselves to be manipulated or bullied by false numbers - and they'll ignore trolls with a grudge against unions.

Submitted by phillysbest (not verified) on April 28, 2011 1:50 am

Johnny Irizarry, of the SRC, has also been linked to the charter school movement. From the Philadelphia Inquirer 3/2009

http://www.phila.k12.pa.us/announcements/SRC_March09.pdf

Submitted by phillysbest (not verified) on April 28, 2011 1:29 am

Shut down 440. Send Ackerman and her staff into the schools where their help is needed. Operating cost for 440 is ridiculous. Michael Masch and the SRC are incompetent crooks.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on April 28, 2011 2:29 am

Why doesn't Masch mention that Ackerman had $1 Billion more to play with than Vallas? Masch and Ackerman knew the federal stimulus money was temporary yet they spent it like it was guaranteed. Now, they are complaining about cuts which they knew were coming. The state cuts, contrary to the Corbet bashing (who, like many others wrote, I did not vote for), are a rouge to get sympathy for Ackerman.

Why $21 million for summer school? It was a fiasco last year. It "serviced" few students compared to Weiner's doctored numbers. Many teachers spent the day sitting. It was a classic "how much money can we waste" scenario. Why not put summer school money toward kindergarden? Why not cut Promise Academies so all schools can at least maintain enough staff to operate?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:33 am

These numbers could not have taken into account retirement incentives. I have been to 440 several times in the last two months and I see anywhere from five to ten teachers scrambling to put in for their retirement. In my building just with the health insurance incentive seven teachers have taken advantage of it.

Submitted by EdWorks (not verified) on April 29, 2011 12:05 am

The numbers don't take into account nearly 2,000 retiring teachers. That's why the numbers we're being given is BS. Really sad that the Notebook and the Inquirer takes everything at face value.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 8:26 am

Is there a date (tentative, or not) that Harrisburg is going to be voting on the budget?

Submitted by Paul Socolar on April 28, 2011 10:54 am

there is a June 30 deadline for adoption of the state budget. This means it is likely that the District will have to adopt its budget May 31 without knowing what level of state funding it will be receiving.

Submitted by CBalka (not verified) on April 28, 2011 7:23 pm

Whatever else may be happening at the School District, the state budget crisis is real and we ignore it at our peril. The District stands to lose about $300 million in state funds (with more losses from the feds).

For information go to: http://pccy.org/?page=PennsylvaniaStateBudget__143

And if you haven't sent a letter to your state legislators do it now! Click here:
http://www.capwiz.com/pccy/issues/alert/?alertid=41053501&PROCESS=Take+A... . You'll find several model letters, information about who your state legislators are and contact information.

Submitted by Seeking Serious Reporting (not verified) on April 28, 2011 10:29 pm

Paul, there are something like 1,900 teachers who have chosen to accept the retirement package. If 1,200 positions are to be eliminated and 1,900 are retiring, it doesn't seem as though we're talking as massive a lay-off as the district has implied, does it?

Please look a little deeper.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 9:05 am

Where is that number coming from? I really hope its true but I've not seen that 1900 number any where.

Submitted by Rob (not verified) on April 29, 2011 4:11 pm

Right. My principal said it was something like 700 who opted for the early retirement. I would think she's a little more in the know. Numbers and rumors are thrown around like crazy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 10:00 am

As a teacher and a parent do they realize by cutting the transportation they are cutting off all of the students that attend the high performing high schools and special admit schools like Central, Girls High and Masterman. Not to mention the fact that the only demonstration elementary school in the city has a large bus population. I waited two years, going through the voluntary transfer program to have my child attend a special admit school, so that he wouldn't have to attend a promise academy or renaissance school, just to be forced into one now due to a non existing transportation program. They think the drop out rate and truancy is an issue now, it will only get worst. There will be a massive shift in student enrollment to neighborhood schools which will not have enough staff, while the high schools, magnet middle schools, and special admit schools will begin to see a drop in enrollment.

Submitted by Audax (not verified) on April 28, 2011 3:47 pm

I think this argument is specious. Up until about 5-6 years ago, high school students had to pay for School Tokens at a discounted rate from adult tokens. Those tokens allowed for 2 free transfers. Central, Masterman, and Girls' High (I attended two of those three) had plenty of students then because their parents, rich, middle class, or poor, all valued their child's education so they paid for them. Really, $10/week is/was a great deal. People will come, Ray. People will come.

The worst part of the transportation issue is that it is MANDATORY for the city to pay for Charter kids to have transportation. THAT is ridiculous. Charter kids will continues to receive transportation but the majority of city students won't.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on April 28, 2011 3:14 pm

While parents whose students get into very selective schools may find ways to pay, neighborhood high school students also have students who live more than 1.5 miles and therefore often take SEPTA. Neighborhood high schools are under a lot of pressure to increase attendance - eliminating the "I don't have tokens" excuse helps. I assume you also don't know if the cost will be $10/week or if SEPTA, which is moving away from tokens, will have another system. With 3 children, even at $10, it is $30/week or $1200/year. If we lived in the suburbs, it would not cost me a dime.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 12:32 pm

This is all so sad. So many angry words, so much finger-pointing, so much playing into the hands of those who would pit one worthy group against another. And so little direct focus on students, whose lives are jeopardized by the draconian cuts in the governor's budget -- to every level of education and to every program that positively affects children and families, especially the most vulnerable.

By commission or omission, we, the citizens of the state, elected this governor and the legislators. We have allowed the "Philadelphia vs the rest of the state" rivalry to go on unchecked. And we have failed to answer adequately those who seem firmly to believe that taxes are bad and unproductive.

Short-term, frankly, it's not at all clear what anyone can do, short of getting more resources for one group at the expense of another. But longer term, we must organize and get out the vote so that sensible approaches to public policy prevail. Now, "sensible" is a loaded word: it implies that we need to take a long, hard look at lot of how we do things; nothing should be off the table. No competence should go unrewarded, and no incompetence should go unpunished. The aim should be nothing less than publicly supported systems (government, schools, all services) that demand and get high levels of productivity, all of it conducted fairly and ethically.

A lot to ask for? Damn right. But aiming for less leaves us no better off than we are now.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 10:43 pm

I would love for a group of students to get together and sue Ackerman and the SRC for educational neglect.. I think if they had the right lawyer they could make a serious claim.. sort of like the football players who later sue their high schools because they got passed on without being able to read just because they could throw a football.. the kids could sue to hold the district liable because they were entrusted with the duty of educating the students and failed due to mismanagement of funds, poor planning and the like.

I think it would make for a historic court battle...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 28, 2011 11:36 pm

If all the teachers in Philadelphia were GREAT teachers and did a GREAT job in the classroom with the students as evidenced by scores then I would say you deserve the money...but too many teachers in Philly don't deserve a penny more than they are getting! Convince me these slackers need money...the ones with their bags in their hands at the same time the students are leaving. The ones that try to come in with the students; the ones that believe their prep is an extension of their lunch period ;the ones that couldn't teach a rat a trick, and the ones that blame everyone else for their lack of professionalism and ability to teach. Oh don't forget about the PFT - the staffers who attempt to protect those buzzards!

Submitted by Tara (not verified) on April 28, 2011 11:48 pm

It's unfair for you to assume because teachers leave with their students then they must not care. What about teachers who have children that need to be picked up from school, daycare, etc? I have had to schedule several appointments right after school because that was the only time available. I know many teachers at my school, including myself, who come in a hour early and work. I frequently leave at the end of the school day, but then do several hours of work at home (grading papers, preparing lessons, finding interesting activities I can use in the classroom, etc.) I know of a teacher who leaves every day with her students so that her husband can use their car in order to get to work.

There are many great teachers in Philadelphia who are doing great things in the classroom. But far too often, teachers have to deal with parents that don't make education a priority. For example, I have dealt with several parents who informed me their child couldn't complete homework due to football practice. There are other students who are chronically late to school, and usually miss the first two periods of the day. I just spoke to a parent tonight who told me her child said I was lying because he is never late. She told me I need to erase the latenesses off his record. I have students who don't being pencils to school but every day bring 4-5 bags of chips for breakfast and lunch. This is what makes teaching frustrating and difficult.

I know many people, family and friends, who are not teachers who show up to work minutes before their scheduled start time and leave at their scheduled end time. I guess they don't care about their jobs, which range from nursing to bank teller. Do you believe that because I work with children, I must stay late at my job to prove how much I care?

Truly bad teachers can be fired and the union can not stop it. When this happens, protocols needs to be followed and the union ensures that they are.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on April 29, 2011 7:36 am

Tara--you are so right about everything you say. Many teachers stay until the building closes, and many come in an hour or more early in the morning. It seems teachers are expected to have no family, and no other obligations.... Many expect us to be parents, counselors, doctors, etc...., and many times we are. Those who are "out the door with the kids" are going home to do hours more work and make phone calls from home (often because there is no phone one can use at school). Is there any other professional work place that does not have phones for its staff to use? Some people may be beginning to see the light: see this great op-ed by Joe Nocera in the NYT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/opinion/26nocera.html

It speaks to all the things we cannot change (poverty, broken families) no matter how many hours we work.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on April 29, 2011 2:28 pm

I leave with the children daily, unless I am teaching in one of the extended day programs. I do this with a clear heart. Teaching is so much more than 8:30 to 3:09 and I am one of those crazies in the buildings early. I have no problem leaving with the kids.
Good points, Tara.

Submitted by Martha (not verified) on April 29, 2011 3:01 pm

Brilliantly said, Tara. Thank you for your words.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 7:24 am

Where exactly is the support for new teachers that will be dealing with this in the near future? I cannot help but remember the "New Teacher Rally" that I attended last August. Funny, there was "no indication" that any of this was about to happen. Will there be some sort of support group available to help new teachers cope with dealing losing their jobs? Or, the realization that they may not be able to return to the job that they worked very hard to get and keep?
I cannot comprehend the gross misuse of money. Keep the "Imagine" buttons....I'd rather "Imagine" myself "keeping my job" that I truly love!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 9:25 am

"STOP PANICKING." If I end up getting laid off, I will lose my HOUSE! I am willing to agree to concessions to keep jobs! Is the union going to help me pay my mortgage will I am waiting to get called back!?

Submitted by EdWorks (not verified) on April 29, 2011 10:04 pm

Do you understand that you'll be entitled to unemployment if you are laid off? You can start collecting after school ends and safe the money for three months, as you'll be living on your reserve. By that time, you'll be rehired - or if not (very unlikely), you'll still receive unemployment.

Maybe after this current crisis is over, you'll see the pattern - the district, the state and the city play this game constantly. There's always a Doomsday scenario that doesn't come to pass. And when it's all over, you'll be glad you didn't lose any of your benefits or salary.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 7:21 pm

Any word on the placement of new TFA teachers and Fellows next year?

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on April 29, 2011 7:24 pm

I can't imagine where there would be a need for ANY TFA / Teaching Fellows next year. If people are losing their jobs, we don't need teachers with temporary certifications.

Submitted by Hope Moffett (not verified) on April 29, 2011 9:57 pm

I went to a TFA alumni Focus Group on April 4th and it seems that there are no placements 9or very few, I didn't wuite understand from what they were saying) for TFA so TFA is broadening the network of charter that they have corps members in and encouraging teachers to apply at the recently designated Renaissance schools. So TFA teachers will continue to come to Philadelphia but will be working almost exclusively outside the District for the time being.

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on April 30, 2011 6:32 am

If a charter school has to rely on TFA to provide teachers, it can not be a very successful charter school. TFA is suppose to be a "stop gap" to provide non certified teachers when a school district can't recruit enough certified teachers. I know Universal has relied on TFA for teachers. It is a sad, sad state when at a time of high unemployment and many certified teachers available, a charter would work with TFA to fill positions. (Mastery, for example, recruits for teachers with at least two years of experience.) The charters that rely on TFA are willing to not only take someone with no teaching experience but not even the basic experience of student teaching.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 29, 2011 8:35 pm

Where is the 1900 number for teacher retirement coming from? I haven't heard it anywhere but here. That number would be fantastic.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 30, 2011 10:40 pm

Unemployment?? That is not enough to pay my bills!! All these don't panic comments are from the teachers with senority!

Submitted by Herb (not verified) on May 3, 2011 12:09 pm

So the number of teachers who have opted to retire as of April 15 is 395. Anyone have a feel for how many teachers opted to take the incentive and retire? I have to think the numbe is greated than 395.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 3, 2011 1:59 pm

395 also seems really low to me. I think there may be many who will leave as soon as they secure other options. I don't know that it will be 1,900, but more than 400 will be leaving, for sure.

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on May 3, 2011 2:33 pm

This was just posted in the Daily News. So what does this mean in the grand sceme of things.?

Hundreds of teachers continue to fret over the future of their jobs after district officials proposed cutting 1,260 teachers to help make up a $629 million budget deficit.

While the district is offering an early-retirement program, it's likely that the majority of the laid-off teachers will be those with less than five years of experience. Nearly 400 teachers had notified the district of their intent to retire or resign at the end of this school year though it's uncertain how many will qualify.

Since the announcement,

some even getting permission from their principals to allow for jobs in other school districts.

But district officials revealed today that there will be no cuts to enrollment teachers nor will any Title One teachers, whose positions are funded by federal dollars designated for low-income families, will be in danger of losing their jobs.

Teachers within the district fall into one of four categories: enrollment teachers, Title One (federally-funded positions) teachers, per school allocations to principals and teachers allocated by Central Office for special purposes and programs.

A cut of 29 percent, or roughly $61 million for school budgets .

Principals have not provided a final report to the district on their cuts, officials said, so there's no way of knowing how many exactly will get a pink slip.

A cut that ranges from 5 to 50 percent, depending on the school, for Teacher Allocated by Central Office for Special Purposes and Programs. Examples (Special Education, Gifted and Talented, Music)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 3, 2011 9:38 pm

Could someone explain this in "plain English". I am a "new teacher", so what is an "enrollment teacher". Any help rephrasing this would be much appreciated.

Submitted by Teacher (K.R. Luebbert) (not verified) on May 3, 2011 9:33 pm

Yeah, that is a weird term. I was at a budget meeting tonight, and what I believe they mean by that is the number of teachers who must be at a school to teach the number of kids in the school. So, if your school has 500 children, divide the K-2 number by 30 and the 3-8 number by 33, and that is how many teachers your actual enrollment requires.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 3, 2011 9:51 pm

Could you embellish on this statement a little for me please? I am a second year teacher, and I am not sure of what an "enrollment teacher" would be. What subjects does this fall under?
Does the number !260 included retiring and teachers leaving the district of their own accord?
When will teachers be advised that they are going to be laid off?
What about teachers with intern/emergency certificates? Will they be laid off first?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on May 5, 2011 7:05 pm

I am a Learning Support teacher with 3 years in December. Is Special Education being affected as much in regards to lay offs? My school is only cutting 2 positions and they are classroom teachers. If I do get laid off I can start collecting even though I will be getting my reserve over the summer?

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