Sometimes it just doesn’t pay for anyone to work for the public education system. Perhaps that’s what Hite and district employees are thinking right now. Things were supposed to get better once the district got the $50 million that the city promised that they were going to give them. In August.
Perhaps the reason why things haven’t improved is because the district rehired some personnel expecting the money, but the money hasn’t seemed to of found its way to 440 North Broad Street. Must be all the traffic.
The school district is in a tight spot right now and what makes things worse is that they have no power to do anything about it. They haven’t had the power since the state took over the district in 2001. Actually the district has given a lot of their power away to labor unions, over-paid employees, the state and the politicians in Philly which is part of the reason why they have no power now.
Governor Corbett continues to hold $45 million of the school’s money hostage because there haven’t been any concessions made by the PFT. Maybe that’s because the members of the union are currently working without a contract and don't really need to see the need to do anything or maybe it's because the teacher's union isn't looking to give any consessions, but get more consessions. This may a couple of the reasons why Corbett won’t budge.
So far Corbett has yet to address the issues of why hasn’t the school district improved since the takeover and why the state isn't being viewed as incompetent as some of the teachers that he wants to eliminate. He also hasn't figured out that if more people in this state had jobs then there would be more money coming into Harrisburg through tax revenues.
The PFT is continuing to paint themselves as victims of the system as well. The teachers have gotten a lot of press over the amount of money they have to spend on supplies in order to do their job. The real question is the amount they claim an actual amount or the amount they spent before they rake in the ridiculous bargains they get from Staples in July and August just by showing their school district ID card?
The press also seems to forget that pretty much every occupation has to put out their own money to do their jobs. Lawyers have to purchase suits and briefcases, reporters have to purchase their own pens, notepads, tape recorders and often video cameras as well as the people who work in the trades industry (plumbers, electricians, carpenters and roofers) usually have to purchase their own tools and even their own trucks.
Now people in Philly are gathering around the schoolyard getting ready for Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke to duke it out over how they’re going to get the $50 million. Keep in mind that it’s now October and school has been in session for a month without the money they need.
Mayor Nutter has endorsed Governor Tom Corbett’s idea to borrow the money from Wall Street against future sales tax revenues. If the council members don’t approve it Nutter shook his fist in the air and defiantly stated that he would borrow the money from a general fund.
There are basically three issues here that perhaps Nutter didn’t consider before opening his mouth. The first is that Corbett has shown the residents of this city that he can’t be trusted. Also the residents of this city have been sitting down at an all-you-can-hate-buffet towards Corbett for two years. Finally borrowing the money could put some city services at risk a year or two from now. Nutter can’t make this a reality unless the members of City Council sign off on it. Read on.
Immediately after Nutter made his announcement Darrell Clarke made his own announcement. Actually he wasn't announcing a new plan, but a plan that Nutter originally proposed. He wants to give the district the money if they gave the city twenty-four properties to sell to the highest bidder.
The problem is that nobody is going to want to shell out that kind of money in neighborhoods that aren’t the best for developing a business or aren’t the best period. Another problem is some of these properties aren’t worth anything because they’re so dilapidated and the land they sit on is no bargain either.
For some unbeknownst reason Clarke seems to think that a developer will shell out more money than the property is worth in neighborhoods that don’t attract a fair amount of vehicle or foot traffic. In many cases these schools were the reason there was heavy vehicle and foot traffic in the neighborhood. Clarke also has an ulterior motive. He doesn’t want all the money to go to the district. He also wants some of the proceeds to go to the city’s Pension Fund which is more to the point of why Clarke is so against Nutter’s plan.
It seems that the district is at the mercy of politicians, but it’s a position that they with the SRC’s help have put themselves in. Perhaps this should serve as a cautionary tale to the Camden School District that has just been taken over by the state of New Jersey which also has a Republican Governor.