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Too Little, Too Late: Corbett’s $45 Million

On October 16th, Governor Corbett unexpectedly announced that he was finally releasing the $45Million for Philadelphia public schools that was approved last session. While our District is in desperate need of money, this latest budget games feels like too little, too late.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the District’s budget crisis knows that $45Million is a long way off from millions that have been cut from our district in the Governor’s last two budget cycles. It is not enough to hire back full time counselors for every school (you can read some counselors’ reactions here), or all the secretaries, librarians, or teachers we had last year; last year- when the resources our schools had were still inadequate. And this money is not enough to bring back full-time nurses for every school. A lot has been written about the tragic asthma-related death of Laporshia Massey; one thing we know for certain is that there was no school nurse at her school that day and that no nurses are being re-hired with the money from the state. What remains uncertain is what it is going to take, what level of tragedy, before the state fully funds our schools and our District prioritizes necessary staff to ensure student safety.

We are facing a major education crisis and instead of working with State Legislators to devise a fair and equitable funding formula, one that would provide high quality public education to all Pennsylvania students, Governor Corbett is merely doing to the bare minimum. The result? – the continued disinvestment in Philadelphia public school students. This disinvestment is exactly what drives the attack on public neighborhood schools. Under-resourced schools perform worse on standardized tests than their fully resourced suburban counterparts and student performance has been a major factor in determining school closures. Without the funding we need we are being set up to fail.

If you want to see some national coverage of what is happening to Philadelphia, check out this piece by Melissa Harris-Perry.

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