City Controller Alan Butkovitz sure seems to be smarting from the criticism he's taken in the last week about a report he issued, calling on the Philadelphia School District to drop its student TransPass program and switch back to tokens for student SEPTA rides to and from school. Butkovitz said truant students can use a TransPass to roam SEPTA's transit system for hours, adding up to more crime on subways.
A Daily News editorial dismissed the report, complaining that Butkovitz offered little evidence to support his claim and suggesting his "sloppy research" could cause panic among SEPTA riders. Butkovitz fired back with an unusual defense, citing many of the anonymous comments posted by Philly.com readers about his report.
Now Butkovitz is going after the School District, releasing to reporters a "letter to Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman refuting the School District's contention that crime on the SEPTA Subway System is not linked to the new SEPTA TransPass program." In the letter -- you can read it here -- Butkovitz said he was "baffled" by the School District's claim that he didn't back up his claims with hard evidence. He then cites a 62 percent uptick in disorderly conduct incidents involving youths on SEPTA during the first seven months of the student TransPass program.