In a dramatic move, the School District of Philadelphia recently announced that it plans on closing nearly 40 schools and making more than $700 million in cuts in order to close a rising gap in its budget. If implemented, the move would also cause hundreds of district employees to lose their jobs, privatize some of the schools’ services, and slash up to $149 million from the city’s charter school budget.

The AP reports:

The blueprint unveiled Tuesday outlines a five-year financial plan that includes about $560 million in budget cuts. If the district does nothing, it will run an unsustainable $1.1 billion deficit through 2017, Knudsen said.

The plan also would reorganize the district’s academic and administrative structure, severely reducing the size of the central office from 650 employees to about 200. Two years ago, the office had about 1,150 workers. Knudsen noted some employees might find jobs elsewhere in the district.

Meanwhile, declining enrollment has left the district operating at 67 percent of its capacity. Knudsen proposed closing about 40 of the district’s 249 schools by fall 2013 to reach 85 percent utilization. Officials could close another six schools each year after that until the target is met, Knudsen said. 

The system currently serves about 146,000 students in district schools and 46,000 in charter schools, which are public but operate independently of the district. Charter enrollment is expected to grow in the coming years. 

Teachers and unions are not so sure about the district’s proposed reorganization and say it relies too heavily on balancing the budget instead of improving student achievement.

“This restructuring plan has nothing to do with raising student achievement,” Jerry Jordan, the teachers’ union president, said in a statement. “The district provided a business model, not a research-based plan for turning around or supporting schools.”

Philadelphia’s restructuring plan is predicated on the approval of a $94 million of revenue the city hopes to pull in from an increase in property taxes. However, if the City Counsel does not approve the increase, the Philadelphia’s schools will face even more devastating cuts.

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  • jamesfrmphilly

    philadelphia has a regressive tax system. all the rich have tax abatements.
    when there is high unemployment there is no one left to pay. our black leaders would much rather hurt the children than to tax the rich. another city down.

  • omfg

    well, with a 65% dropout rate, they probably figure the service is underutilized anyway.

    sorry. know that’s harsh.

    but, the dropout rate shouldn’t be that high. education simply isn’t valued by most. if it were, more children would be breaking their necks to attend and finish. and their parents would be kicking their arses to do well.

    if this were a company and they were trying to determine which stores to close, they’d close the under-performing ones – those with few sales, little patronage and little support.

    evidently, these schools have little patronage and support and few sales in the form of high graduation rates.

  • Tonton Michel

    Operating at 67 percent of its capacity is just not manageable, they shot them selves in the foot by having a top heavy administration as most school districts do but the hole is too deep now. I hate for it to happen because they inevitably put more pressure on the schools with the sudden increase of students but you have to avoid a total collapse.

  • malik hemmans

    like farraCONvict said ameriKKKa is on its death bed

  • jamesfrmphilly

    there is plenty of money in and around philadelphia. the issue is the flow of the money.
    that is a choice of the leaders.

    it is sad to see people on here blaming the students for dropping out. if you were in that situation you might well do the same. the rich pay little in philadelphia. in the suburbs the schools are well funded. all that money comes out of philadelphia. do not blame the students.

    tax the rich. put the money into infra structure. put everybody back to work.
    then there will be money to fund the schools.

    • omfg

      yes, part of the blame does go to the community – the parents and students.

      sorry, as a community we do not value education. we just don’t. we once did. it used to be that we would do anything to be educated. people risked their lives to learn how to frickin read.

      tell me this… do the asian kids at those schools have equally high rate of dropouts? i bet they don’t. yet they are attending the same schools and probably going to college.

      if the attitude was – i don’t care how much the schools are crumbling, i’m at least going to squeeze this lemon for everything it has, then i doubt the schools would be closing to the extent they are. why? because people would see they were actually making an effort to do well and utilize the service.

      there are people in this world who would break their frickin necks to get this free “inferior” education that is being offered in philadelphia. i was just in central america and i had several conversations with people who didn’t finish high school because they could not afford to.

      those kids who were motivated in philadelphia will continue to be motivated and go to school and hopefully to college. those who weren’t, well, it’ll be easier for them to dropout, terrorize everyone and blame others for their crazy behaviour.

      i think we should admit they we have lost our way and rebuild from there. what’s the point of taxing anybody to raise money for school when too many simply don’t value it to begin with? it’s not about money, it’s about what people see as being important – their values.

    • H

      @omfg You are so right. I just listen when I hear black people complaining about education and how horrible the schools are. There are black people in Africa who would love to be in those schools. The bottom line is it’s the parents. They are testing a voucher program in Louisiana. The idea is to attach money to the kids so that they can go where they need to go. They are seeing mixed results. That’s because the problem isn’t 100% about the schools. It’s about parents. They don’t put in as much work and don’t care as much as white and Asian parents. They don’t push the kids to make As like Asian parents do.

      The kids learn stuff at school, but then they come home and watch TV or YouTube videos. If black parents were serious they would make the kids do homework, play a little, eat, and read a book for entertainment. No TV or internet! We, black people just have dropped the ball and we’re too ashamed to admit that a lot of these problems are caused by US not “the man.” When black people talk about being oppressed, I feel like it is an insult to our ancestors. Our “oppression” pales in comparison. But people will never change. I’m sick of talking about it because they have this defeatist attitude that there is some outside voodoo force holding us back “the man.” And that we will never move forward what’s the point in trying. When we realize that it’s us holding ourselves back, recognize what it is that we are doing wrong, and make steps to correct it then we will move forward.

      For example many black people can’t speak standard English. This a major turn off to potential employers. Black parents should be able to recognize that this will hold themselves but especially their children back and decrease their competitiveness with whites, Asians, Hispanics, Africans and so on. Parents should make every effort possible to stop speaking Ebonics. Mimic Diane Sawyer or other people on TV. Don’t let the kids speak incorrectly. No, but they don’t do it. When you don’t even attempt something as simple as speaking the language that you’ve known the majority of your life correctly, that already signals to me that you don’t mind being ignorant.

      Black people thought Obama was their Moses and that he would lead them from oppression. Many are upset that he hasn’t. That’s because you need to hold yourself accountable and work harder.

      If African Americans don’t want to at least excel at learning from inferior schools, or they don’t want to take advantage of Affirmative Action, or they don’t want to save the money that they make at work that they don’t spend b/c of subsidized housing and food stamps, or they don’t want to be in America, maybe they should leave and trade places with some other black people in Africa. They would love to have those opportunities that they throw away. I say they because I am proud to be an American, and I wouldn’t want to be in any other country in the world. In what other country have black people accomplished what African Americans have accomplished?

    • jamesfrmphilly

      if you wish to blame the community we will just agree to dis agree.

      i live in philadelphia. you, of course, know more about the school system than i do.
      your reasoning is simple. the black people must be wrong. we black people have lost our way. all on our own.

      the asians are superior. the latinos are better motivated. in your world everyone is better than the black people. that sucks.

      in the philadelphia that I live in the leaders have systematically robbed the school system.

    • H

      I’m not saying that the school system is not to blame. I’m talking about education with African Americans in general not just Philadelphia. I don’t think anyone is better than black people. I DO think that black people aren’t motivated enough. I think some of us are unable to see the problem, but even still parents play a BIG part in a child’s education. Plenty of educated people taught themselves without a school system or great teachers. I think that education in the black community is such a problem because of bad schools and administration but also because of parents not knowing what to do with them on off time.

    • omfg


      you can’t possibly believe that i think anyone is inherently better than black people. i believe that black americans are great. and we have accomplished so much. but we have lost our way.

      also, i lived in a the philly area for a couple of years so i know certain parts are a wreck, look like a dang war zone. but, i also know philly’s history and it was a proud one for blacks. it was a place where blacks fled and became strivers. now, it appears you can’t say the same thing. and it’s a dang shame.

      since the civil rights act, we have developed this dependent attitude that wants to constantly blame the man for problems like our failing schools and high crime rates. i don’t deny that there are structural issues that contribute to black people’s problems, but that doesn’t mean we should become a defeated and despairing people who barely even make the effort to achieve or improve ourselves.

      obviously, this victim mentality we’ve had for the last four decades has not worked. we need to go back to the attitude we had in the past or the one we were trying to cultivate…

      how would it hurt to reclaim this mentality? it would not.

      why do you and others resist this thinking so much? it makes no sense.

      we used to believe in finding or making a way… to do anything. we just had to put our minds to it.

    • Pat

      omfg and H

      Thank you, I have been saying this for years. America does not value education like others from around the globe. My families core reason to immigrate to the States was based on free education and opportunity. Having the opportunity to attend school in both countries, I can tell you that from the children to the parents there is no care for education here. Parents are not involved and the teachers can only do so much. In my country, if a student is failing class the teachers are at the parents home working out ways to get the student in good standing. There are mandatory meetings parents must attend or there will be consequences with the school. In this country this is not so. Schools here are merely daycares and when a teacher approaches a parent they are ready to rumble. My parents/ family stressed to us the value of education. They warned us to stay focused on our studies. They were right. You see we were taught to value education by our parents. We are not perfect but, education is still number 1 in our family and we hold this generation to it. If parents cared enough schools would not be closing. They would take to the streets in protest. Hold fundraisers for the schools. Do you see this happening? No.. Why? Because they don’t care..

    • jamesfrmphilly

      @ omfg and H

      you make negative statements about blacks and then you do not want to take responsibility for what you have said.

      i participated in the CRM. if you want to know the difference between then and now, then we did not have black people putting our own down. now we do. you have drank the neocon kool aide and now absolve the system of white supremacy of all it’s actions.

      then we had to fight white people, today we waste time fighting one another.
      read your own words. you say that asians and immigrants are superior. you said it.
      own it.

      we have had some black people fail us. we had a black mayor and a black school super. they failed us all. blame the corrupt leadership.

    • H

      I take responsibility for what I said. I said that African Americans can’t compete with whites, Asians, Hispanics, and other blacks from Africa. I said that they are not serious about getting an education. I never said that blacks were inferior. I’m black. I don’t think anybody else is better than me because they aren’t black. I am proud of what our ancestors have accomplished in this country, but you and many other black people are lying to yourselves and blaming the man for our problems instead of taking responsibility. Black people would greatly benefit from a big dose of reality and taking responsibility. There are many problems in the black community that are not caused by “the man” and I think civil rights leaders and slaves would be ashamed to see how we are playing the victim when they were really the victims. Slaves ran away for freedom and risked being beat while learning to read. Civil Rights leaders went against raging dogs and fire hoses. THAT was terrorism and oppression. I just think that this generation of black people work less than everyone else and complain more. This is such an insult to others who knew we had to work twice as hard to be seen as average and complain less. If you went through the Civil Rights Movement, you know what I’m saying is true. This generation of black people has not risked their lives for freedom. They didn’t get spit on while trying to integrate schools. The only thing they’ve done is reinforce the stereotype and figuratively spit on the efforts of people who paved the way for them.

      If black people would work hard in grade school, they could succeed in this country. I made good grades in high school (The school was not very good.) and went to college. I made good grades in college, and because I was black, female, and had a high GPA, “the man” practically threw scholarships at me. Companies and colleges want to diversify. They are glad to see a qualified minority or female who actually has the smarts to take advantage of these opportunities. There is plenty of preferential treatment for women and minorities that black people are not taking advantage of. It will be gone before black people wake up.

      It may sound like I’m attacking black people, but I’m just over the victim mentality. If you want to pretend like you’re oppressed, keep on whining. Most of the problems in the black community come from within not from white people. It’s too embarrassing to admit this though. It’s much easier to blame our problems on white people, but just like education – violence, teen pregnancies, and corruption are all things that are done by us to us. Black on black crimes like these are the oppression that people have to deal with these days. I don’t absolve white criminals of their crimes. I simply don’t choose to dwell on Trayvon-Martin-like-incidents which although very sad are much more rare than black on black crime. As you mentioned, we have administrators that look like us taking money from our kids and communities. To me, it just seems like it makes more sense to criticize and attack the everyday oppressors rather than “the man.”

      Tell me what should I be fighting white people about? Discrimination? I’m not naive. I do know that discrimination still happens and racism is alive and cooking, but I will tell you what we need to fight – black people who exploit the welfare system, thugs who kill not only each other but innocent men, women, and children everyday, parents being hands-off when it comes to education, parents letting kids listen to grown folks music such as hip hop, pop, and R&B, parents letting kids watch lewd music videos, and R-rated movies, parents not making their kids read, women having kids that they can’t afford with no good thugs on purpose and then demanding child support, dead beat dads who don’t have the common decency to feel bad about not taking care of their own kids, glorifying thirsty rappers who can’t speak English or talk about anything other than money, cars, and women, and our acceptance of ignorance in general.

      I’m not saying black people are evil and white people are angelic. No. I’m simply saying we have too many problems that we can tackle ourselves that will make more of an impact. You have to learn from your mistakes. We don’t. We make mistakes like a child and blame our sibling. Call out the behavior and correct it.

    • jamesfrmphilly

      bill? is that you?

    • omfg


      you can’t quote anyplace i’ve said asians and other immigrants are superior. you simply can’t.

      i have said that when they come to this country, they see sooooo many opportunities because they are sometimes coming from places where you simply have access to virtually nothing without having money. period.

      for some of them, our crappy free schools are far better than what they’d get – the school is in the neighborhood, don’t have to walk far, there are computers, maybe a library, books, etc.

      there are people who come here and the glass may be half full, but they know that halfway is better than nothing at all cuz they didn’t have ish. they know they can still get somewhere with a half full glass and eventually get where they want to be.

      unfortunately, we have become so mired in our own dogma and narrative that we can’t see beyond it to take advantage of what we do have.

      our children have no problem putting in the effort to rap and play basketball or football. they will play ball on crappy surfaces and with equally crappy equipment. and they will create beats with their bodies and voices because they don’t have instruments.

      for some reason, it’s not being put in the minds of these children that getting an education is pretty important to also helping them leave the hood and improve their lives.

      again, i am not denying structural racism. but allowing yourself to become a wholesale victim of it (which is what you’re defending) is inexcusable. for me, the kind of talk that you’re engaging in here does not help.

      what does help is a change in attitude.

      as someone who grew up in the hood around all kinds of violence, i can attest that valuing education will help you get out and improve your life. it will not make things perfect (ish always happens) but it helps. i have done and seen things that i dreamed about doing as a little girl in the hood.

      i don’t know whether you’ve gone to college or whatever but why don’t you apply the same standards you set for yourself to the black community? you wouldn’t excuse yourself or your children (if you have any), why excuse others? why does it bother you to empower blacks in this way?

    • jamesfrmphilly

      on the one hand you are stating that blacks are inferior to asians, immigrants and whites.
      we are just lazy and have “victim” mentality. refuse to study, hoodrats. etc.

      then out the other side of your mouth you deny that you have said what you just said.

      so you all go on living in your neo con world. i cannot reach you there.

      ironically, it is the blacks with degrees and credentials, those in leadership positions,
      who have sold out the children and the community. i imagine they share your neo con attitudes.

      i’m done with you.

    • H

      Oh jamesfrmphilly! I said black people can’t compete because they are less educated. That has nothing to do with inferiority. That has to do with obtaining an inferior education. I said that has to do with bad schools and bad parenting. You are changing what I said. I want you to find these lines where I say black people are lower than all other races because they are black. Please point them out to me.

      When I bring up genuine problems caused by black people, you fall into victim mode. I’m attacking black people for pointing out true problems. Don’t worry about me though. Most black people still think like you. They are perpetual victims that always need money and help from the man only to turn around and blame everything on the man. Black Africans are coming over here and surpassing African Americans. They are black, so it’s obviously not a race inferiority thing. “I’m a victim help me” is all you hear from black people. You all with the victim mentality are the ones who are acting like you are inferior. You can’t do it along and need mommy to assist you. And notice I say you all with the victim mentality act inferior. That is a subgroup of black people act that way. I am not saying that ALL blacks ARE inferior. I am saying the victims like to ACT inferior.

    • H

      You, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson should just throw a national pity party. There would be plenty of black victims to join in the party to blame the man for where they are today.

      Obviously the victim mentality and what we’re doing hasn’t worked. You would think black people would say “Something’s not working. Let’s change. Let’s copy white people. Better yet, let’s copy these high performing Asians.” No we just keep on keeping on.

      Well y’all can continue being victims all you want. I’m quite fine with holding myself accountable. It makes it easier for me to notice my problems, figure out where they originate from, and work to correct them. It’s harder to correct your problems when you blame problems that you’ve caused on others. It’s like blaming being fat on McDonalds.