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Education Advocate Speaks Out On Philadelphia School Budget Crisis

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(Philadelphia School District headquarters.  File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(Philadelphia School District headquarters. File photo by Mike DeNardo)

Tim Jimenez Tim Jimenez
Tim Jimenez is a general assignment reporter at KYW Newsradio...
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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia School District’s budget crisis has many families worried as summer draws to a close with the beginning of the school year up in the air. But a parent and education advocate says this is more than just about the $50 million to get schools open on time.

Helen Gym is a mother of three and long-time advocate, as co-founder of Parents United for Public Education. She’s hoping city, state and school district officials somehow come up with a long-term funding solution, this $50 million band-aid not being enough.

“It’s not just about getting a building open and turning the lights on and paying your first couple weeks of salaries,” said Gym.

She says it’s about poor decisions through the years leading to 24 schools closing, the so-called “Doomsday Budget” and now, an uncertain start of school. The most stressful summer for parents she says and when schools are hurting, the entire city hurts as well.

“Whether you’re a parent in the public school (system) or not, it’s going to affect taxes, it’s going to affect our neighborhoods and communities. It’s going to affect real estate development in the city. This has got to be a conversation for every kitchen table,” said Gym.

A conversation she says can’t end at Superintendent Hite’s funding deadline of August 16th or when schools may or may not open on September 9th.

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