Nearly 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts receive more state aid per student than does Philadelphia, according to the Pennsylvania Education Department. We rank as the 67th poorest of the state’s 500 school districts. The Pittsburgh School District, ranked the 261st poorest, received $2,126 dollars more for every one of its students from the state in 2011-12 than Philadelphia did. If treated equitability, our schools would be receiving $429 million more from the commonwealth. Additionally, we spent 7 percent less per student than the state average in 2011-12. In the three years before your cuts, the school district ran annual surpluses of about $30 million. We weren’t spending beyond our means then and we’re not doing so today. [...]
Now, you demand that our teachers help close your budget gap by accepting $133 million in wage and benefit cuts. Do you think they get paid too much? The Pennsylvania School Board Association says that Philadelphia educators are paid 19 percent less than teachers in Bucks and Montgomery counties. And those Pittsburgh teachers from your home county are paid 8 percent more than our educators. Didn’t you recently negotiate pay raises to state workers in their last labor contract? Why are raises for state workers OK but only pay cuts appropriate for our educators?
(h/t Laura Clawson)