Summer school layoffs & reams of district documents

Two things.  

THING ONE: One-hundred four summer school teachers have been laid off as a result of lighter-than-expected student attendance and a resulting “rightsizing,” spokeswoman Shana Kemp said.  The teachers were laid off effective Tuesday.  Some have questioned the wisdom of spending $18 million on an 18-day program that provides not just academics but enrichment activities, also.  I wrote about that here and here.

In the face of the criticism, Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman sent a letter to district staff today re-emphasizing why it’s one of her top priorities (she called it an “important and wise investment,” even in the face of a brutal (more than $600 million) budget gap.

“Philadelphia's parents, educators, and concerned citizens can see that many of our children have limited access to the kinds of resources and opportunities that typically help to support and sustain their academic progress,” Ackerman wrote.  “Such limited access makes them vulnerable to learning loss during summer. That's why we are doing our best to provide our city's children with the opportunities they need and deserve. SLAM is a proven pathway to student success.”

THING TWO. The city has released reams of district documents (most previously unseen).  Find them here - contracts, payroll documents, salary information, you name it.  This is...much, much, much more district information than we have previously seen publicly available. Lots to digest. I've already heard a lot of buzz about a not-yet-signed amendment to Ackerman's contract that would give her additional bonuses and health insurance for life.  And a cursory look of central office payroll reminds me that the superintendent's office pays for not one but two chauffeurs. 

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