Yesterday, the school district made its big ask of city council – between $75 and $110 million. Today, members of the public have a chance to weigh in on the matter. Should the city help the schools? How much? What should it cut in order to do so?
One thing worth noting about today’s public testimony: Talking to people around Council, we get the sense that Council really doesn’t know what it’s going to do here. It will likely pony up money to help the schools, but it isn’t clear yet on the conditions, or where that money will come from. Which tells us that today’s public testimony has a chance to be more meaningful than usual. People without a plan might be more inclined to listen for a good one.
If you have a good one – or you feel strongly that the schools need help, or simply want to vent anger about things like this – the floor is open starting at 1 p.m. (Yes, we know that is in the middle of the workday. Look, we didn’t schedule it). We’re told Council will not leave until the last speaker has been heard.
Update: Here's a blog post from Helen Gym outlining the priorities of Parents United for Public Education. The gist:
I'm feeling more and more that the District has unfairly put up essential services to schools in order to avoid what ought to be pointed questions about their priorities, spending practices and managerial and financial oversight.
The group lays out several areas where it believes the district should be focusing cuts rather than transportation and full-day kindergarten, including summer school, executive salaries and contracts that aren't competitively bid.
The upshot of this is that the district might be able to restore some of the bad cuts it promised by placing those cuts elsewhere -- and without as much help from the city as it requested yesterday. This is really worth giving a read and, if you're so inclined, joining the conversation.