Why is Superintendent Hight Leaving the Philadelphia School District: An Overview

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Superintendent William Hight is Leaving Philadelphia School District at the end of the school year.

His current contract, which has a budget of $334,644, is due to expire in August 2022. The Enquirer reports that Height and the city’s Board of Education have agreed not to renew it – meaning his job will expire next summer.

“After a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to renew my contract when it expires in the summer of 2022,” Height said. In a video For parents, teachers and staff released on Monday. “Until then…we have a lot of work to do, especially given the enormous challenge we have during this school year.”

By the time his tenure ends, aged 60, the professional educator, who Ashraf previously School systems in Maryland and Georgia, you will have spent a decade at the helm of Philly Public Schools.

The city’s search for a new supervisor is expected to begin soon. The Philadelphia Board of Education said it is creating a formal advisory committee to research and contract a professional firm to handle the hiring process. From October 11, the Bank of England will host 18 community hearings to hear Philly’s priorities for the next school leader.

β€œThe Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that this important research is community informed and in the best interest of every Philadelphia student,” said Leticia Igea Hinton, Vice President of the Bank of England, in a statement. “We aim to bring transparency and diverse voices into the critical process of selecting a new supervisor.”

Hight took on the role in 2012, replacing former supervisor Arlene Ackerman 905 thousand dollars acquisition.

At the time, Philly’s schools were facing massive debt, forcing the district to borrow hundreds of millions while cutting costs by $700 million. He has navigated financial distress – and brought order back under local control – but has landed in the midst of several other crises, from persistent asbestos construction fears to this year’s garbage collection disaster. In 2020, the School Principals’ Association Vote “No Confidence” in his leadership.

β€œTen years is a long time to do this kind of work,” Haight said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to the Enquirer, adding that Planning to stay in Philly Even after his term expires.

Here’s a summary of some of the biggest things that have happened in the Hite era, and the multiple problems that pile up for whoever comes in to replace him.

When Hite joined the Philadelphia School District, he was in On the verge of bankruptcy. In 2013, just one year into his tenure, the district predicted A deficit of 1.35 billion dollars over the next five years.

How do you deal with it? Hite lobbied Harrisburg for more funding and incurred less debt than before Issuing fewer bonds. In one of the more controversial cost-savings mechanisms, Hight also led the closure of 23 public schools in 2013 (see below).

β€œHe took office in a financial crisis, and I think over the past three years he has put in place the structures needed to move forward as a district,” Marjorie Neff, chair of the Public Schools Reform Commission, said. The inquirer said in 2015.

high Cut the school district’s debt to $33 million By 2017 – and up Avoid budget cuts during the pandemic.

About those schools closing. Hight recommended 28 school closures in 2013 – which eventually fell 23 permanent closureIt represents more than 10% of the district’s public school buildings.

This caused a huge uproar among parents and students, sparking protests and attracting National news coverage. 2019 analysis of The effect of closings She found mixed effects: Some displaced students’ test scores rose, others missed more and received more suspensions.

In 2001, Pennsylvania declared the Philly School District financially and academically, He seized control and set up a school reform committee to run matters. What is now calledFailed experimentThe state maintained control for 16 years.

Many local advocates now believe that state control created an antagonistic relationship with parents and the teachers’ union, and weakened the region as a whole.

The state-controlled commission voted for Solved itself in 2017He was replaced by the nine-member Philadelphia Board of Education. The council is run at the city level, with members appointed by the mayor. The first meeting of the Bank of England in 2018 I opened cheers – Compared to the usual boos at SRC meetings.

Philadelphia School District has unfortunate long history With asbestos dating back at least half a century.

A 2018 investigation by Inquirer revealed that it was never finished. Asbestos, mold, and dangerous peeling paint are still found in dozens of public schools β€” in gyms, cafeterias, hallways, classrooms, and halls. In some cases, the damaged asbestos is gone It hasn’t been repaired for years.

Among those affected was Philly Vocational School teacher Leah DeRoso, who was also He was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer due to exposure. She eventually received an $850,000 settlement.

In June of 2018, Governor Tom Wolfe designated the district $15.7 million Restoration of all school buildings and ridding them of toxic materials. But until as recently as August 2021, school communities Remain concerned about asbestos in their buildings.

The now-dissolved School Reform Commission left behind a giant problem when it abruptly terminated the lease of the Scientific Leadership Academy’s city center building in 2017. In the plan, the SLA would move into the old Ben Franklin High School building, the construction of which required to get back into shape.

But the construction schedule was overly optimistic. It was the beginning of the school year delay Initially, the crews had to complete the work while the students and staff were inside the building.

During the operation, inside the building, crews found asbestos – you guessed it. Only after a public protest, students were temporarily transferred to other schools in the area.

A review found that with this projectThe district ignored warning signs, important business rushed in, money wasted, and students and staff were put at risk.

When the coronavirus hit the Philly area, it turned Philadelphia’s school operations upside down. Initially, the state planned to shut down in-person learning For two weeks only. As we now know, the lockdown continued through the rest of the 2019-20 school year and throughout the following year as well.

Hite moved to the region by complex switching to default. At least in the beginning, many students Did not appear in school online, often due to lack of broadband access. For justice, the school district temporarily stop grading. schools distributed laptops He suggested that students complete online learning In their school car parks To access a Wi-Fi network.

The challenges culminated in a partnership with Comcast, where broadband company Philly Expand Internet Access By making 50,000 students eligible for the Internet Fundamentals program.

When the coronavirus closed personal schools, it cut off access to regular meals for many of Philly’s children.

Under Hait’s rule, the district acted quickly, turning 50 public schools into Meal distribution sites. Students can stop twice a week and eat six meals each – three breakfasts and three lunches.

Convert the program to One day a week In April 2020, and continued in the area The second virtual academic year.

Just a month before Philly schools reopened in person this year, the district suddenly posted an updated schedule on its website. Update Including 7:30 a.m. start time At least half an hour before the pre-pandemic call time for most schools.

The school district has recorded a lot of complaints from parents who said the change upended their schedules, and health experts who described children’s lack of sleep as a public health problem. The region gave up on the idea and went back to its standard start times.

A similar situation happened again recently. Earlier this month, the area Blind parents Proposing a half-day for students on Fridays β€” which the district once again backed out.

Another crisis brought by the return to personal learning: the massive shortage of bus drivers, which is a a national issue. The Philadelphia area needs approximately 1,300 drivers to get all of the city’s children to school. Currently, they have less than 900.

Parents report that children are late for class or not at all. The problem is too bad, Height considered asking him for help National Guard – Even Amazon. Parents can currently receive a cash stipend if they drive their children to school for the year.

At the start of this school year, many Philadelphia public school students festively reached their first day of in-person learning β€” only to find piles of trash dominating the campus.

A reporter found out why at least five schools had mountains of trash encroaching on the right of the road, and parents said the piles It just grew bigger During the first week of school.

“We’re working on overtime to clean this up,” said Jeff Scott, temporary area director of operations. The district blamed the lack of a pickup truck on staffing issues with contracted garbage carriers.

However, although community efforts To clean up the garbage in the meantime, the problem insist – stick to his opinion.

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