Your turn to grill Philly schools chief

Students, parents from GAMP school protest plans to end busing to the school. Marching band played out front of the School Board building to be part of protest of the SRC. Wednesday, October 17, 2012. School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., during the SRC meeting. ( STEVEN M. FALK/ Staff Photographer )

If you would like to ask the new head of Philadelphia schools a question, here’s your chance: Hite will appear with Second District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson to talk about schools and take audience questions at 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at Tenth Presbyterian Church, 17th and Delancey Streets.

The Center City Residents Association and the South of South Neighborhood Association, which are sponsoring the event, are asking that people submit questions ahead of time. You can do that by e-mailing your question to Put “Dr. Hite” in the subject line.

I’ll be out of town, but if I could go,  I would ask:

1)    Per-pupil spending is much lower in the Philadelphia School District than in surrounding suburbs. What can you or anyone here do to change that so that city children might be on more equal footing with those in other cities?

2)    For decades, parents have fled to the suburbs once their children reached school age. In some parts of the city, that appears to be changing, but the trend will last only if more middle-class families see district schools as a good option for their children. What would you do to make Philadelphia schools more appealing to families who can afford to move out of the city?