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New Philadelphia Schools Chief Inherits System In Crisis

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Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When Philadelphia’s new schools superintendent begins his job here, he’s got his work cut out for him.

When the budget dust cleared, the School District got $54 million less in city money than it planned for. Incoming Superintendent Dr. William Hite says he’s prepared for the financial challenge, having had to cut millions from the Prince George’s County, Maryland budget for three straight years.

“We did encounter very similar — not as significant in terms of the numbers — but nonetheless we had some significant revenue challenges here as well,” Hite explained.

School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos says the district is already borrowing $218 million just to make ends meet.

“Make no mistake. The district is much worse off now than we thought we would be when we proposed the budget,” Ramos said.

Dr. Hite says he plans to do a lot of listening, once he takes the helm. And even though the district is seeking concessions from its employee unions, Hite says he wants their input.

“They may have ideas as well that have not yet been explored. And, I think that in these types of economic times we have to consider ideas and suggestions and recommendations from almost everywhere.”

Hite says he also plans to seek the input of outside educators, including other superintendents and independent researchers, as he makes his transition.

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