To: William Hite, Philadelphia School District Superintendent

Superintendent Hite: Spend public funds on public schools.

The $45 million in public funds released by Gov. Corbett should go to rehire staff at Philadelphia’s public schools.

Why is this important?

Thousands of Pennsylvanians and public school supporters spoke out after Laporshia Massey died when she waited too long to get treated for an asthma attack -- all because her school did not have a nurse on duty. Governor Corbett was shamed into releasing the $45 million in school funding he was sitting on so that public schools could rehire staff. It was a great win for Philadelphia’s schoolchildren, and it gave me hope that we had turned a corner towards the schools that my child, and everyone’s children, deserve.

Then I got the news that Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite intends to funnel $10 million of that $45 million into charter schools. The $45 million was meant to help neighborhood public schools close their budget gap. What has that lack of funding meant to the district? It means 24 neighborhood public schools have been closed, thousands of teachers and support staff laid off, libraries closed, and enrichment programs cut.

Why should charter schools get a cut of the $45 million when they have not been subject to the same staffing cuts? Furthermore, between financial mismanagement, lack of oversight and poor student performance, charter schools aren’t working in Philadelphia, except to drain funds from neighborhood public schools. As SRC member Joe Dworetsky put it, “The average net loss to the district when a student goes to a charter school is $7,000 per student.”

When charter schools are already draining resource-starved neighborhood schools of funds, they should NOT get a cut of the $45 million. Tell Superintendent Hite to spend the money where it is most needed: in Philadelphia’s public schools.

Teachers, parents and students want to make sure the district uses the $45 million to restore the programs and staff that have been cut from neighborhood public schools -- like the school nurses, counselors, and the clerical support staff that keep schools running smoothly. Education experts agree: every school needs a school nurse and one counselor for every 250 kids.

We told Governor Corbett. Now we have to tell Superintendent William Hite: that $45 million should go to rehire staff at Philadelphia’s public schools.

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