January 20, 2012 |
Facing a fiscal crisis of previously unimagined proportions - it must cut $61 million by June and isn't sure how to get there - the Philadelphia School District's governing body on Thursday tore up its leadership structure and named a "chief recovery officer" to get the battered organization through the next six months. In plainer, starker terms than it had ever used before, the School Reform Commission laid out the district's financial woes to the public in a dramatic meeting Thursday night.
January 19, 2012 |
Facing a financial crisis of previously unimagined proportions - it must cut $61 million by June and isn't sure how to get there - the Philadelphia School District's governing body on Thursday tore its leadership structure and named a "chief recovery officer" to get the battered organization through the next six months. In plainer, starker terms than it had ever used before, the School Reform Commission laid out the district's financial woes to the public in a meeting Thursday night.
January 16, 2012
Brace yourselves. Philadelphia School District officials are expected to give an update on the 2011-12 budget picture Thursday and, well, when was the last time we heard good news in that sector? I asked officials to answer a number of budget questions in advance of the meeting, and they declined. They said chief financial officer Michael Masch's budget update at Thursday's SRC meeting would have to suffice. To recap: last we heard, the district cut $15 million from its budget by further trimming individual schools' discretionary funds and laying off more staff, including some school nurses.
December 8, 2011
T O RACHEL FALKOVE: I appreciate your apology to Philadelphia for the lack of attention paid to your tax bill. I do not appreciate your excuse (although you call the issue inexcusable), that it was you and not your husband who takes care of things and, thus, not his fault. I work for the IRS. As part of my employment, I must file my taxes promptly each year. If I fail to do so, on the first offense I will be called on the carpet with the potential of being fired. That's part of the responsibility of working for the company that collects taxes from the masses of the United States.
December 2, 2011
DEAR CITIZENS OF PHILADELPHIA: I owe you an apology. As a recent newspaper story reported, my family failed to pay our real-estate tax bills on time. Because my husband, Michael Masch, is the chief financial officer of the Philadelphia School District, this failure received special attention. I know that our family's failure to pay our taxes on time is inexcusable. I know that every citizen needs to pay his or her fair share to support the public services that promote the common good.
December 2, 2011 |
Already rocked by deep program and staff reductions, Philadelphia public schools took another hit Thursday, when officials directed that $15 million more be cut to balance the district's shaky budget. The district's 249 schools will lose roughly $10 million - each absorbing a cut, on average, of 1.4 percent of its discretionary budget. Sixty-nine nurse positions have been eliminated, saving about $5 million. And a program that pays staff members who serve as desegregation bus monitors is being ended, for a saving of about $600,000.
November 30, 2011 |
THE MAN in charge of the school district's budget was a tax deadbeat until Monday afternoon. Michael Masch, the district's chief financial officer, owed back taxes from the last two years on his home in West Mount Airy, according to city records. The $8,347.93 debt included overdue property taxes, a city lien, penalties, interest and fees. Masch paid the overdue bill after "It's Our Money" contacted him. Masch said that his wife handles the payment of the household's bills but that neither of them was aware of the back taxes until Monday.
November 24, 2011 |
The Philadelphia School District will begin making $14 million in new budget cuts next week, chief financial officer Michael Masch said Wednesday. Staff will be laid off and programs eliminated in some cases, he said. "The impact is going to be very painful for schools," Masch said. Because the school year is under way, the district is limited in what it can cut. Classroom teachers, for instance, cannot be eliminated midyear. Earlier, district staff proposed further slashing individual schools' budgets by a total of $10 million, cutting professional development, instrumental music, athletics, English-language-learner instruction, psychologists, educational technology, and bilingual counseling assistants.
October 27, 2011 |
The players are different, but the problems are the same. Despite shedding thousands of employees and making significant classroom cuts in recent months, the Philadelphia School District - which had earlier announced a $629 million budget gap - must make an additional $39 million in reductions. Officials propose further slashing individual schools' budgets by $10 million total, cutting professional development, English-language learner instruction, psychologists, instrumental music, athletics, educational technology, and bilingual counseling assistants.