The joy did not last long in Upper Darby.
After word filtered out over the weekend that more state funding would likely allow the school district to restore some of the cuts that had drawn so much fire from parents, the school board convened Monday night and passed a budget with the hated realignment plan intact.
Parents are upset. Maybe more now than before.
They are using some pretty strong language to explain what they think happened.
“Duped” is one of them.
Last night we had two parents join us on our live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’ If you missed it you can catch the replay here.
My thanks for parents Rachel Ruitberg and Carolyn Caron, who once again offered a passionate opposition to the district's plans. We also were joined via a phone hookup by state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163.
It was Micozzie, with the help from Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, and Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26, who put aside party differences and put on a full-court press to get more money for Upper Darby.
The result was $726,000 in Accountability Block Grant money, and a whopping $2 million for Upper Darby from the state’s Distressed School Fund.
What seems to be at issue now is exactly how that money is going to be used.
Micozzie made it pretty clear to me yesterday afternoon that he wants that money used to restore the programs that were cut.
Parents say that doesn’t appear to be what is going to happen. Instead they believe some of the money will be used to rehired 19 teachers who will go into the regular classrooms and help teachers with the special instruction in arts, music, technology and languages. But they also made it clear they still think the district plans to lay these teachers off next year. And they’re irked that the district is moving ahead with the realignment plans.
For their part, no one at the district seems to be talking. No one from either the administration or the school board would agree to come on with us.
My hope is that the board merely is being cautious and wants to wait until after the state budget is signed, sealed and delivered before they announce their intention. They indicated they would hold another public meeting on July 10 to discuss uses for the newfound money.
That one should be a dandy.