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Philadelphia School District Holds Meeting To Discuss Budget Shortfalls

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School Reform Commission (credit: Mike DeNardo)

School Reform Commission (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s less than three weeks before the Philadelphia School District has to adopt its budget — and parents and administrators are facing tough choices. School officials say a budget proposal by House Republicans would improve the budget picture a little — but it would still leave the district with a $610 million budget hole.

Another School Reform Commisison meeting Wednesday, another parade of community members pleading with school officials not to slash programs.

“Kids need art.”

“If you take away the students’ transportation and in some cases, only means to get to school, do you think the truancy issue will improve?”

On a day the School District proclaimed as “School Nurse Day,” there was plenty of talk about a deficit reduction plan that would that would trim the number of school nurses, along with art and music programs, student transpasses, and the list goes on.

But Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says the pain is being felt across the board as the district grapples with a $629 million deficit.

“I would like to hear people tell us what TO cut. Because I don’t think we’re ever going to get any agreement.”

The district has sought to reopen union contracts. The teachers union has refused, but SRC chair Robert Archie had the commission’s lawyer point out that state law gives the SRC the power to cancel and renegotiate contracts.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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