Ten months into his first term as city councilman, Allan Domb continues to make good on a promise he made when he was sworn in.
Domb cut six more checks from his $129,000 council salary and presented them last week to Philadelphia public schools. He wrote three checks earlier this year, and plans to eventually give to 25 to 30 schools annually.
The councilman, who owns a real estate agency, said during his election campaign that would donate his council salary to local schools.
Domb told NewsWorks Tuesday that as he's researching where to send the $2,500 checks, he's learning more about the city's beleaguered education system in the process.
The councilman told Metro that his perception of city schools is changing.
"I have been very excited and happy to see that almost every school I've gone to is excellent," he said. "I'd say that maybe we hear about five to 10 percent of the total schools in the district, but we don't hear about all the good schools.
"We don't do a very good job of promoting the good schools we have. If you just read the news, you think it's a disaster. But if you actually go to the schools and see the relationship between principals and teachers and students, it's heartwarming."
Domb recalled visiting Spring Garden Elementary on 11th Street, where the councilman said nearly 30 percent of students live in a homeless shelter, and all live in poverty.
"You walk into the school and the floors are impeccable," he said. "I always look at those details; It sends a message that when you see a school that sparkles and shines, it reflects the condition of the school and the pride it has in its students.
"When I walked around that school, a third-grader ran up to the principal, Mrs. Robinson, and hugged her. I never hugged my principal in 12 years of going to school."
Among the schools receiving a portion of Domb's public paycheck are Spring Garden, Morton McMichael Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, John H. Webster Elementary, Lewis Elkin Elementary, Edison High School and Warren G. Harding Middle School.
The councilman said there are no rules for the donation — the schools are free to spend it how they see fit.
"I have tremendous faith and confidence in principals," he said, adding schools that already received the donation have purchased a food truck, cleaning materials and school supplies. Initially, he thought it would be best to donate to the school district, but said too much "red tape" made that difficult.
Domb, independently wealthy through his firm Allan Domb Real Estate, is now a Democratic at-large member. He previously worked with the School District of Philadelphia and city council members last year, when Council President Darrell Clark asked Domb to tour the 26 schools the district would later close.
"I’m not doing this to get re-elected. I’m doing this so the city gets better, that’s all," Domb told Metro in January after his swearing-in earlier that month. "I hope more people like myself, who are in business, step up to the plate and do the same thing."
As of Tuesday, Domb has so far donated to:
John Webster School ($2,462.85): Motorola BPR-40 Walkie-Talkies for use of climate assistants for communication and student safety.
Lewis Elkin School ($2,500): Online Learning A-Z Licenses for an online literacy program will benefit grades K-4 to ensure every student is reading at grade level.
Warren G. Harding Middle School ($2,406.30): Bluford Series Book sets, novels for teachers to use in classroom reading course.
Morton McMichael School ($2,500): ThinkCirca Computer Program — money will offset the cost of this instructional program that challenges students comprehension of complex subject matters.
S. Weir Mitchell School ($2,496.46): Paint and supplies for a scheduled Service Day, and drumming sessions to support positive behavioral and mental health practices.
Spring Garden School ($2,496.93): Teaching resource books and instructional materials.
Thomas G. Morton School ($2,500): Audio-visual system upgrade in the school auditorium.
William Rowen School ($2,500): FOSS Science Kit and outdoor side yard supplies to support the Young Heroes Outreach Program. This year the program is focused on education around the consequences of littering and benefits of beautification. The school will use funds to purchase outside lawn supplies such as plants, park benches and stone tiles as well as a learning kit to teach students about natural resources.
Edison/Fareira High School ($2,500): A food truck to support the Culinary Arts Program as the school develops a farm-to-table program aimed at promoting healthy eating.