By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia School District officials will go before a city council committee Wednesday to testify about the need for a final $25-million in city funding.
Council and district officials reached an agreement, last week, that allows council to monitor and give input on district finances, but council president Darrell Clarke says some questions remain.
“There were also some outstanding issues with respect to the privatization of certain school functions,” Clarke says. “And I think that particular issue is not only unanswered but of significant concern given the first level of privatization as it relates to the substitute teachers where the goals clearly have not been met.”
The district contracted out substitute teachers at a cost of $34-million, but the private company it hired has been unable to fill 80 percent of vacant classrooms. Clarke says the appropriations committee is likely to ask for details before voting on the release of the final $25-million.
“If you enter into a contract and there’s non-compliance, not even close to compliance, can you cancel the contract? Was the $34-million front-loaded with respect to the contract? Those are the kinds of answers we need to have a clear understanding,” he says. “That’s why we continue to say there needs to be some level of fiscal oversight.”
Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission Chairman Marge Neff will be testifying.