On Wednesday, Daily News journalist Dafney Tales reported that the recent heat wave forced schools to close costing them over 858 thousand dollars they didn’t have to waste. Not to worry, however, the teachers still got paid for the days schools were closed.
For the second year, the school district has offered a summer program called SLAM (Summer Learning and More) along with free breakfast and lunch to students. In the morning the schools teach math and literacy. In the afternoon they have what is called enrichment in which kids, depending on their school, can take participate in art or sports programs. The program only lasts for about 22 days. The bill for the entire program comes to 18 million dollars.
People question whether Ackerman should have had the program. At least, whether or not the SLAM program should have still included the enrichment portion because eliminating that would have saved 8 million dollars that could have gone directly into the schools in September.
Ackerman continues to believe that the program helps students, but the 28,000 kids that were targeted as needing the help didn’t come to the program-only 19,000 came. In addition, only one kid showed up for the program in the Roxborough schools.
In 2010, schools had an overwhelming response to the program and had more kids than they had anticipated. This was due to the Parent and Community Ombudsmen promoting the event through community activities such as block parties. They have since been laid off and most didn’t promote it before they left.
The school district maintains that they provided air conditioning for all the schools, but this isn’t true. Many of the schools such as Solis-Cohen Elementary School have no air conditioning in the classrooms. The electrical system is so bad many rooms depend on one outlet to provide all its electrical needs and the school district refuses to fix it thus creating a fire hazard.
The question remains, how can 22 days of a summer program do what 181 days couldn’t? How can Ackerman be sure that a student’s improvement on the standardized test is due to the program anyhow? How is hip hop dancing or basketball improving math or literacy skills? What is it going to take for her to understand that spending money isn’t something she should be doing? Watching her spend money is like watching the musicians play as the Titanic sinks.