Jun 19, 2013

Allentown School Board

Allentown School Board picked up another $350,000 this week, and at least two members, President Bob Smith and board member Joanne Jackson, want to bring back at least five laid off teachers. Smith favors bringing back elementary level gym teachers. Jackson, a former teacher herself, needs no convincing. Usually, by the time the state budget is finished at the end of June, there are more funds available for the district. With a school tax increase of over 8% this year, some board members instead favor applying the additional funds to decrease the rising homeowner burden. Board member Scott Armstrong believes that bringing back a few teachers is only a temporary false reprieve, and not facing fiscal reality, which is an 8% increase each year, for the next four years. Member David Zimmerman would also not rehire any teachers. Hiring back teachers, who have already received their pink slip, actually only increases and complicates the long term pension obligation. The school situation is dire. We face more layoffs, increasing taxes, and school closings. One wonders why we built new buildings in this financial climate? Both the federal and state governments impose essentially unfunded mandates in both testing and performance. A state takeover would provide no benefit, there's no magic in Harrisburg. I personally know both camps on the school board. Although they have different approaches to our problems, they all have a deep regard for the students of Allentown. I believe that those students will continue to find dedicated teachers that provide a quality education even under these difficult conditions.

5 comments:

ironpigpen said...

Governments never did have any business building minor league sports arenas.

Governments always had a responsibility to make sure there is enough money for schools.

Too bad all a certain someone who shall remain nameless here could say little more than "Hysteria!" when appearing on Business Matters with Mr. Molovinsky.

Because there never was any such thing as free money. But, whatever. I'm marginal.

ROLF OELER

michael molovinsky said...

rolf @6:31, it is telling that the NIZ development is the buzz of pennsylvania, while many school districts face dire straights. it is telling that so much creative innovation went into new bricks for entertainment and the appearance of progress. i do agree that the children would have been a much better investment. the CHIP program was actually shortchanged to help pay for new office buildings, which are just transferring old jobs from somewhere else.

Bill said...

Fix the Pension mess so that more money goes to education, which needs to include phys ed, art and music. I would agree with those who want to bring back the five teachers. Kids need to move around and exercise, they actually can learn better when they do.

Anonymous said...

Bill,

The fecklessness of our politicians and intransigence on the part of the teacher's union are why the kids will have to do without so much next year and if the pattern continues even more the year after that, and more after that....These two parties need get off the dime and do what is right for the kids. Until that happens we can only tweak the disaster.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

The banner over the new American Parkway Bridge should welcome hockey fans with the City's new slogan "Allentown: A City Without Teachers (or gym class, libraries, text books etc..). The saddest thing for me is that members of our legislature (Pat Browne and Jennifer Mann) can deliver a new hockey arena while Allentown's public school system is left for dead. How can they live with themselves? What a contradiction and a failure of leadership. I'm stunned that Republican Pat Browne is trying to water down the Governers efforts to fix the pension crisis! Armstong is right, career politicians are terrified of the teachers unions.