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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett speaks at a news conference on the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania January 2, 2013.  Corbett said he will file a federal lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions it levied against Pennsylvania State Univer
Gov. Tom Corbett: Harming Philadelphia kids, Philadelphia teachers and school staff, and the ideals of public education alike.
As Philadelphia schools face massive layoffs of teachers and staff on top of massive school closings, Gov. Tom Corbett (Republican, natch) is planning a "rescue" that Daniel Denvir describes as "a destructive joke." Not only does it fall short of what's needed, but:
[T]he plan shifts the burden for funding city schools onto those who can least afford it. Much of the funding comes from optimistic projections of increased collections from city tax delinquents, and from an extension of the city's "temporary" 1-percent sales tax hike. The latter is simply the state giving the city the power to further tax its own disproportionately low-income population. This is patently regressive taxation, meaning that it takes disproportionately from the poor—in a city that already has a regressive wage tax, and in a state that has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation.

There is only $47 million in new state funding for city schools (less than half of what adds up to just $127 million in new funding, according to this Notebook/NewsWorks analysis, since $13 million Corbett had proposed previously was already included in the school district budget). Critically, $45 million of that is a one-time-only expenditure—and it actually comes not from Corbett but from the Obama administration. [...]

The plan also requires a staggering $133 million in concessions from union workers, mostly from teachers who already make 19 percent less than their suburban counterparts.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and education scholar Diane Ravitch have written to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, calling on him to intervene. They describe some of the effects of the cuts, which will disproportionately hit black kids, low-income kids, and English language learners:
Third-grade teacher Hillary Linardopoulos told us that her school, Julia de Burgos, a North Philadelphia K-8 school, is getting an influx of 250 students due to the mass school closings, while at the same time the school is being forced to lay off a third of the staff.

The Andrew Jackson School, a vibrant neighborhood public school, is losing school aides, its counselor, its secretary, its security monitor, several teachers and even its music teacher, who worked tirelessly to find resources and seek donations for the school’s celebrated rock band. And they won’t have money for books, paper or even the school nurse.

Meanwhile, remember, while Philadelphia's schools are being slashed to the bone, Pennsylvania is building a $400 million prison not far from the city.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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