By Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ninety-one school police officers will lose their jobs in the School District of Philadelphia. Because of that, 25 schools in the district will no longer have an officer stationed inside the building.
Eighty-two school police officers received their pink slips today; nine more will lose their jobs at the end of the year.
This comes as disheartening news to mom Consuela Astillero.
This school year, she says she pulled her 16-year-old son out of Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia because she was afraid for his safety.
“I think it’s a disgrace. They need more than what they already have, and they are going to eliminate, take away? It’s a mess,” Astillero said.
The School District of Philadelphia is facing a $61 million budget shortfall that it needs to make up by the end of June.
More cuts in other district departments are coming.
Chief Inspector Myron Patterson is the Philadelphia School District’s Head of School Safety.
“I don’t feel good about things. Anytime you are impacting people’s lives, this can be construed as a negative impact on those lives,” Patterson said.
The cuts to the school police officers–who were all per diem–are expected to save about $600,000.
That leaves 386 full-time officers patrolling the district.
“That’s not saying that we’re capitulating, that we are giving up the ship. It’s far from that. I’m very confident in the men and women we have,” Patterson said.
Patterson says he will re-deploy some of the remaining officers, and the district will work with the Philadelphia Police Department to help maintain security at city schools.
But Parkside Youth Association football coach Cliff Smith is concerned. He coaches a lot of teens who attend city schools.
“It’s a tough one to swallow, because they need that security. They need that in the school system.”
The 25 schools that will lose stationed officers are elementary schools. Chief Inspector Patterson says those schools are among the safer schools in the district.