(Daily Caller News Foundation) – Nearly 4 in 10 Philadelphia schools were assessed and rated as having “unsatisfactory” conditions despite the district having a $3.9 billion budget paid by taxpayers in the last fiscal year, according to multiple reports.
The partially-completed March 2022 assessment measured criteria such as the condition of the facilities, how many students were enrolled relative to capacity, and how well they support instruction, according to Billy Penn, a local news outlet. The School District of Philadelphia’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Herbstman recently suggested a $4.45 billion preliminary budget for 2024 and a five-year outlook, which was approved with a 9-0 decision from the board, Chalkbeat reported, yet only 62% of schools were assessed with 23% scoring “unsatisfactory” while another 20% scored “poor.”
The conditions of all the schools within the district are not clear due to the district pausing the assessment because of the former superintendent stepping down, according to Billy Penn. Over a third of all schools in the district have yet to be assessed, including almost all of the charters.
The assessment was paused in November “to ensure cohesive alignment” with Superintendent Tony Watlington’s strategic plan, which was approved in early June 2023, according to Billy Penn.
“If it’s not brought to light, that there’s an issue or needed repair, or a complete overhaul of the entire school, no one’s going to know it. And parents don’t know because they’re not in the school. The children know it,” Maritza Guridy, a district parent, told Billy Penn about the assessment results.
Watlington noted that he believes more money is needed to address more concerns, according to Billy Penn.
The Education Law Center and Public Interest Law Center noted that $4,976 more is needed per student which would mean an additional $318 million annually from the state and city, Chalkboard reported.
The School District of Philadelphia didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.