Superintendent Hite Talks To FOX 29 - FOX 13 News

Superintendent Hite Talks To FOX 29

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PHILADELPHIA -

It's been nearly a year since the current Philadelphia Schools Superintendent took over the job, and it's been a rough 12 months.

August marks one year as Philadelphia Schools Superintendent for William Hite.

How's it been? Almost like if Chip Kelly goes O and 16 with the Eagles.

"Since I've arrived, we've talked about closing schools, laying off people, eliminating programs, concessions to labor..." says Dr. Hite.

But at least Chip Kelly has the money to outfit his team and pay all his players, coaches, and behind the scenes staff.

And in the big city public school business, 50-million dollars doesn't go far.

"It does not do enough for what goes on behind those doors," says Dr. Hite. 50 million was what Hite said he needed from the city or else he wouldn't open schools two weeks from today. But all that money gets is just 50 laid off teachers back and some support staff.

"We're able to put a secretary in every school, one secretary. We're able to put some assistant principals, particularly in larger schools. Some guidance counselors and some individuals who can watch children in the hallways and at lunch," says Dr. Hite.

And that's way less than adequate, he says. The key now, he claims, is getting more than double what he got from the city, more 100 million dollars in pay cuts and health insurance contributions from the teacher's union. For teachers making more than $55,000, he wants them to take a 13 percent pay cut.

"I'm taking a 10% pay cut[. W]e're asking teachers on three tiers based on what they make. Individuals at the lower end…we're asking for 5%[,] at the middle end, a 10% and at the higher end, a 13%," says Dr. Hite.

With the teachers' contract expiring Saturday, negotiations went through the weekend and all day today. That's the reason why the teachers' union president was unable to talk to us too.

And if the union doesn't give in, Hite says he wouldn't even give Philadelphia's schools a passing grade this year.

"We'll have to wait and see. It's going to be incomplete. That's a good way to put it. It will be an incomplete," he says.

For seniors and those who will follow, try getting into college, try getting a job and try not getting into trouble with an incomplete.

In the past week, the teacher's union came out with new commercials targeting Mayor Michael Nutter and placing a lot of the blame over the districts' budget crisis on him. this afternoon he responded.

"Any talk or conversation about lack of support from the city government and whether it's our administration or city council is completely without merit," says Nutter.

Mayor Nutter says that since he has been in office, tax increases and a hike in parking fees and fines has resulted in 155 million dollars in additional funding for the district.

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