When Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett, got a brand new male appendage, he couldn’t wait to use it on Philadelphia’s kids. Corbett’s old appendage was a gentleman named Jerry Sandusky, who used his Corbett-funded charity as a child molestation hunting ground for years. After Sandusky went to prison, Corbett found himself with a new office as governor, and no way to give it to Philly’s sweet, unbearded youth.
Fate being what it is, Corbett found a new appendage in the form of school superintendent, William Hite. At first, the relationship was fairly innocuous; likely, Corbett never even glanced down as he signed a $400 million check to fund his prison project. But sooner or later, Corbett’s Super Adventure Club feelings stirred, and he pulled $45 million of public school funding through sliding door of his unmarked, white van.
Then the fun really began. William Hite, standing proudly erect, declared that the only way to cover Corbett’s artificial budget shortfall was to suspend state rules that gave seniority rights to teachers and nurses during the fall re-hire. This would effectively break union organization in the school system — which was exactly what Corbett had in mind. Corbett made no bones about his intentions, either, explicitly stating that the funds would not be available until teachers’ unions signed contracts acquiescing to substantial “savings and academic reforms.” Read: “You shut up, do what you’re told, take what I give you and thank me afterward.”
And so, with not even the social lubrication of pretense, Hite readied himself to thrust deeply into the children’s best interests, doing everything he could to break the schools’ spirit and eliminate unions altogether. For days, students and teachers alike screamed for help, muffled by the duct tape of right-wing self-interest.
Thankfully though, the people of Philadelphia answered that cry. As the sun set on August 15th, Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter threw open Corbett’s van door, pledging to sell $50 million worth of municipal bonds to fund the public school system. Granted, it’s a short-term solution; Philly has to repay the bonds in four years, and there’s no promise for next year. But for now, the children and teachers of Philly are safe from Corbett and his recently deflated Hite.
Watch a video about the budget cuts, courtesy of Newsy: