Could Your District Face Financial Meltdown

Jul 11, 2013 by

The lack of funding for education in Philadelphia is cause for serious concern.

The Philadelphia School District is in major chaos.

It is one of the largest districts in the country, and is also one of the most bankrupt. Currently, it is facing a $304 million deficit and 20 percent of the total staff has been laid off. That’s about 3,800 employees and includes assistant principals, secretaries, and teachers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called the situation an “educational crisis.” He intervened last week after advocates, including American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, launched a campaign to get the highest education official in the United States involved in the situation that affects about 204,000 traditional and charter school students in the district.

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“There’s no excuse for a public school system anywhere in the U.S. to be in this situation in the 21st century,” Duncan said in a statement last Wednesday. “Philadelphia’s children didn’t create these problems or ask for them.”

The Philadelphia district has been in trouble for 10 years. But such dire financial straits could occur in any U.S. school district as the influence of charter schools mixed with funding cuts for traditional public schools combine for a perfect storm of financial distress.

Jerusha O. Conner, an education professor at Villanova University and an expert on the Philadelphia school district, told TakePart that the state shoulders much of the blame for the city’s problems.

“Pennsylvania ranks 8th lowest in the country, spending only 35.8 percent on education, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau,” she said.

via Philadelphia Public Schools Suffer After Financial Meltdown.

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