Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School

CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School:
Erie and The End of Public School

While functional states may be basically all alike, when it comes to education, dysfunctional states are all dysfunctional in their own way.

In Pennsylvania, we have focused on developing one of the most dysfunctional funding systems in the country. We have a huge gap between rich and poor schools. We have a charter system that allows charter schools to bleed pubic school systems dry (in one spectacular case, a district actually got negative subsidy from the state because their charter bill is so huge).

On top of that, the legislature messed up the pension system so badly that districts are now making massive balloon payments on their pension obligations.

And the cherry on top of this is our state government's inability to do the whole budget thing. Last year's budget was a full ten months late and several dollars short, leaving districts both to do their own budget decisions in the dark while also holding up any payment from the state at all and triggering massive cash flow problems. Everybody lost, but nobody in Harrisburg learned a damn thing, so we're already right on track to create an equally ugly mess for next year.

How bad is it, really?

Here's how bad. Erie, Pennsylvania-- not exactly a teeming metropolis, but not exactly a one horse town, either-- is considering closing all of its high schools. Yes, at a meeting this afternoon, the leaders of the Erie School District will meet to decide if it might be more doable to just send all of Erie's teenagers to neighboring school districts.

The district is looking at a $4.3 million gap, and like many districts in PA, it has no possible
CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Erie and The End of Public School: 



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