“PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia school district plans to cancel all weekend programs and shut school buildings an hour early during the week in order to save money.
“District spokesman Fernando Gallard said Saturday that the changes will save $2.8 million and are needed to close a $61 million budget gap by June, The Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/wFKAeh ) reported.
“As of Saturday, all weekday extracurricular activities and programs will now end by 7:30 p.m. so that buildings can close by 8 p.m.
“The changes will affect many non-district programs, since city recreation activities often take place in city school buildings.
“Organizations that pay the district to use its buildings will still be able to use them, although it’s unclear whether they will be able to pay to keep the buildings open longer
“In a letter Friday to elected officials, a district official called the decision to shut buildings early “difficult,” the paper said.
“The changes “are being enacted to create a substantial savings in utilities, personnel and overtime spending,” the letter said.
“On Friday, the district eliminated 91 school police jobs, eight regional office jobs and six office jobs in the central office. One hundred schools are now without permanent school police officers stationed in their buildings, an increase from 75 schools.”
So the question is how does this controversial decision affect our suburban school districts? Does it? Should it?
Many of our school districts are struggling to make it. Decreases in government funding, increased costs of just about anything and everything are making the budget processes nightmares.
Some districts have implemented programs like “pay to play” where athletes and others are being asked to pay a fee for their games, teams or programs or clubs.
I think that if closing an hour earlier can save this kind of cash then it is something to consider. And I definitely think that in this era of tight belts and tight budgets outside groups and organizations should pay the freight for utilities and/or overtime. It’s only fair.
We have to face up to the facts that the money just isn’t there anymore for school districts to be what they were 10, 15, or 20 years ago. The government is trying just about anything to raise cash — lotteries, casinos, whatever. Philly is even talking about selling advertising on the sides of the school buses.
Continued funding for education remains a huge problem and the bad part is that it will only get worse, not better.
So what’s your vote? What are your suggestions? Let us hear you…
— Andy Hachadorian