Masterman principal to Philly School District: This isn’t ‘functional’

    Last week, Philadelphia School District superintendent William Hite received the $50 million assurance from the city that he demanded in order to open schools on time.

    Hite said the assurance would bring district schools back to a “functional” level.

    But as district principals learn exactly how that money will be allocated to rehire staff for their schools, some disagree with his assessment.

    “I have one counselor for 1,200 students? That’s not a functional level,” said Marjorie Neff, principal at J.R. Masterman.

    Neff said the district informed her Friday that the $50 million will allow Masterman to regain one counselor, one assistant principal, one more secretary, and $12,000 for building supplies. Neff says she typically spends that amount on supplies per month.

    “Will we be able to open the doors on Sept. 9? Yes. Will there be teachers? Yes. Will classes be overcrowded in schools across the city? Yes.

    “Are we going to be able to provide a thorough and efficient education to our students as is our mission? No. Absolutely not,” said Neff.

    While Neff says she knows how the $50 million influx will affect her school, many district principals are still in the dark.

    The school district didn’t reply to requests for comment on this story, but a representative has said the district has “not finalized the decisions on which staff to recall.”

    Moving forward

    The district is hoping to raise $133 million more primarily by getting teachers to agree to salary cutbacks and health-care concessions.

    If — and only if — that happens, the state will kick in another $45 million.

    To this point, the state has provided the Philadelphia School District with an additional $2 million for this year’s budget.


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