By Dustin Slaughter
The savings windfall School Reform Commission officials claimed would occur when they cancelled public school teacher contracts may not be all it’s cracked up to be, reports The Notebook‘s Dale Mezzacappa.
A document released to The Notebook yesterday details a district-wide breakdown of how supposed savings from contract cancellations would be allotted to individual schools, and how many teachers would have to be laid off to even the teacher-to-student ratio.
Instead of simply figuring out what to do with extra money, principals were given less than 24 hours – by close of business Thursday – to provide a memo with “compelling” reasons why they shouldn’t lose staff. The principals are being forced to choose the least bad alternative for reducing staff and then explain why they don’t want even to do that.
In a scheme called “leveling”, the district intends to cull the number of teachers in proportion to student enrollment, and force principals to submit memos explaining why a teacher or staff member remaining employed presents a “compelling” need for a particular school. As enrollment continues to drop – exceeding even the district’s earlier projections – schools, overall, will have to continue choosing “the least bad alternative.”
According to the document, the Philadelphia High School for Girls is particularly hard-hit, slated to lose 5.6 teachers – while getting an extra $103,700 through the health care savings. That is barely enough to keep one of those teachers.
According to the memo issued by the school district at 9:30 pm Wednesday, 30 schools will be gaining staff, while 34 will have to make decisions about which teachers to cut. It also encourages school administrators to use the savings that will supposedly spring from contract cancellations to hire additional teachers and staff.