About summer school...

"Is summer school happening?" - that's a question I often field from teachers and staff these days.

Tucked away in a corner of this story about yesterday's SRC meeting was a mention of summer school, but I thought it was worth a separate posting given the interest.

Essentially, summer school is happening. Here’s what district Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch had to say about that, from my story:

This year, the district will spend $22.9 million on summer school, less than the $40.3 million it spent in 2010-11. But it will be able to serve the same number of students, up to 39,000, Masch said, because of savings.
“That's our team being smart," Masch said.
Though the budget picture may worsen, summer school is a lock this year, Masch said.
"By the time we know about that, it will be too late to stop summer," he said.

In fact, the SRC will vote on resolutions dealing with summer school next week. There’s a $1 million contract with Philadelphia Arts and Education Partnership to provide summer school enrichment activities and a $4.7 million contract for summer school textbooks and instructional materials (seven vendors are named, from Voyager/Cambium Learning to Scholastic, but "various vendors" are also mentioned) from several different companies. 

Remember, Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman and her staff have said that even in this excruciating budget year, Imagine 2014 is still a priority, as much as possible, and Dr. Ackerman has often pointed to Summer Learning and More, or SLAM, as one of her points of pride.

I’ve heard a number of people question whether too much was spent last year on summer school, so let me throw this question out you readers: will the district get 40,000 students to enroll in summer school?  Is it worth the cost?