Philly schools need funding and staff
17 schools in Philadelphia at risk for losing state grant according to City Controller.
What’s wrong with Philly schools?
Between a lack of funding for pre-k programs to understaffed schools, the public school system in the city can’t get a break and according to a new audit released by City Controller Alan Butkovitz, the future may not be very bright.
In the report of the FY2016 audit, the Butkovitz found that 17 schools were not appropriately staffed according to standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The report stated that 48 staff members would need to be added and distributed amongst the 17 schools that were tested for compliance.
Not only is compliance necessary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education standards, but in order for the school to receive the state Title I grant that is specifically given to those in low-income families, schools must be adequately staffed with the proper ratios.
The schools currently not up to standards are notable schools across the city including Frankford High School, Benjamin Franklin High School, Ethan Allen Elementary and Huey Elementary.
“It is essential that schools in some of the city’s high-poverty neighborhoods have the same educational opportunities as schools in other neighborhoods,” said the City Controller.
And the School District has already formed an action plan to attempt to fill the current vacancies because as Butkovitz stated, “The School District puts itself at risk for the possible loss of much needed educational dollars when it does not follow the guidelines.”
In addition to a three-month radio and social media campaign, the School District is assuming all costs for onboarding employees who make less than $40,000 annually.
And the results have started to show with 277 applicants received since January for the open positions.
“It is encouraging that the School District has taken several actions to increase their staffing levels,” said Butkovitz in a statement. “They have the opportunity now to fill all required positions before they must tackle the looming budget deficit.”
“The students, families, and teachers deserve a safe, fair learning environment,” said Butkovitz. “Providing appropriate staffing levels can go a long way to achieving many educational goals.”