- Philadelphia Public Schools is looking to hire 400 new teachers for next school year, a surprising announcement for a district so cash-strapped that it has cut 5,000 jobs and closed 30 schools in the last few years.
- The district is offering a starting salary of $45,360 to applicants with no experience and even more for those who come in with some teaching under their belt, according to CBS Philly.
- Kendra Rosati, recruitment director for the district, told CBS Philly that there's particularly a need for upper elementary teachers, secondary math and science teachers, special education teachers and anyone with dual certifications.
This is a pretty big deal given the fact that typically any news about Philadelphia School Districts in recent years centered on tight budgets and scrimping by. Most noticeable is the fact that this call for educators seems to go against the district's recent adoption of a stringent, no-frills school spending plan, which projected a revenue increase of only 1% over the next five years and dealt with strategies for the district to essentially "just get by."
This is the second positive news story for the district this year. In January, it was announced that incoming Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf had appointed Pedro Rivera, a former Philadelphia School District administrator and current Lancaster superintendent, to serve as the state's education secretary. The decision prompted speculation that the appointment could prove beneficial for struggling Philly, and it looks like that may be the case.
Of course, it's not just Philadelphia that should be watched. Recently, a number of districts and parents, along with the state's NAACP chapter, filed a lawsuit against outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett, state education officials, and legislative leaders, alleging the state violated its constitution by failing to provide adequate education for all students. The lawsuit was based on the state's school funding formula, which the plaintiffs claimed doesn't allow for necessary resources to be purchased and also discriminates against low-income neighborhoods. Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that doesn't have a funding formula system in place, which means there is often a heavy reliance on property taxes. According to Philly.com, the gap in per-pupil spending ranges from $9,800 to $28,400, depending on where a student lives.