Allison Kelly staff writer
It was in early November of 2015 that teachers received some news in which they had been dreading since the rumors first surfaced a few weeks prior. A very vague and short email from the Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia informed teachers of what could be their new reality, stating “At this point, we can continue to make payroll, operating without state funds, through January 29, 2016. After that date, our ability to keep schools open, issue paychecks and pay bills is uncertain.” This left teachers, students, and parents with a scary amount of uncertainty for the future.
Being that tomorrow is January 29, 2016, it seems as though some sort of accommodations have been made in order to prevent the worst case scenario, but is that the end of it? Do our beloved teachers get the chance to relax knowing their future status at their jobs are in good hands, or was this just the first of many scares for an inevitable ending? Math teacher, Erin Giorgio speaks about what this scare meant on, at the least, her behalf, but also for all teachers in the future.
When asked about her first thoughts once receiving this mass email she explains, “My first concern was obviously about whether or not I would be able to pay the bills. My next concern regarded whether or not schooling would be prioritized over everything else. Lastly, I was concerned, long term, for the public school district and its quality when qualified teachers are being lost due to the fact of them having to worry about whether or not they will be able to pay their bills.”
She then explains how this worst case scenario outcome would affect her life outside of just being a teacher. “I go on a trip to Cornell the week after school with a bunch of students so this would probably have to be cancelled, preventing a group of young kids from attending a great college visit. This will also affect teachers who work another job in the summer. Also, teachers with kids who are in daycare will be affected because this means a longer time for them there in which a cost will have to be met.”
She was then asked to elaborate on anything she thinks SLA can do specifically as a school in order to prevent this from being our teachers’ new realities and she says, “I think better communication of the facts overall is needed because there is a lot of judgement being made based off of inaccurate information.”
Overall, these teachers were rightfully worried and shaken up at the news due to how much impact this would have on their lives. But, it does look like there is some light to be shed on the situation considering tomorrow is this so called “deadline” yet there has been no further rumors of the initial plan going through, but this doesn’t mean our teachers are safe. It seems as though their futures are constantly at risk and if the only thing we, as a school, can do is to better communicate these situations then that is what we should do.