School District Budget Cuts: Cutting the Future: Followup

The total amount of budget cuts over the next two years is proposed to be 400 million dollars, on top of the 40 million for this year. Most recently, full-day kindergarten has been compromised, as have many buses. If Governor Corbett's budget is approves, the district may go from 3.2 billion dollars of operating budget to 2.7 billion by July 1st. What I'm about to write is a lot of statistics, so if you don't want the details you may want to skip this part. 

The proposed budget by Governor Corbett would "
shave the district's share of basic education funds ($107 million); eliminate charter-school reimbursements ($110 million); end accountability block grants for full-day kindergarten ($55 million); cut educational assistance funds for after-school tutoring ($19 million); and excise dual-enrollment programs that allow high school students to earn college credit ($1 million)." 3800 jobs are said to be lost, as well. Operating budgets are to be cut by 29%, kindergarten funding by 43%, transportation by 44%, alternative education programs by 50%, extended day programs to be eliminated altogether, vocational education cut by 30%, high-incidence special education staffing by 5% leading to a 77% cut of special education liaison positions. Gifted education will be cut by 50%, english language learner supports by 20%, 50% cuts for central offices which leads to 430 job losses, instrumental music cut by 9%, early childhood programs by 16% resulting in 730 pre-K slots lost by The Bright Futures program and 216 lost by Comprehensive Early Learning Centers.

Arlene Ackerman (pictured below) has said that the District's way of handling these cuts aren't bad. She brought up the point that some are saying, for example, to save art programs while others save literature, and there isn't enough money left after the cuts to save all programs. Part of the issue that Ackerman is dealing with is that if she saves one program, she won't be able to save another, and there isn't a single program that all members of the community don't want to save. Be that as it may, in my opinion, there is still more that she could be doing, maybe even contributing some of her own pay, (possibly $500,000 this coming year,) or managing the money the District will receive more efficiently although, as I've said, she is in a difficult position.

Dr. Arlene Ackerman - Superintendent - School District of Philadelphia