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Superintendent Meets With Parents As First Day Of School Approaches In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The superintendent of Philadelphia schools met with some parents, as contract talks continue between the school district and the teachers union.

Parents say they are facing fear and frustration as they prepare to send their kids back to school on Monday, in the midst of a budget crisis that has crippled the district.

Parents leaving their meeting Tuesday night with Superintendent Dr. William Hite did not appear to be put at ease over the district’s troubling finances.

“There seems to be this movement to agree, you know, it must be the teachers. It’s ridiculous. The teachers haven’t had a say in this at all,” said parent Pattie Gillette.

Dozens from the parent group Philadelphia Home and School Council met with Superintendent Hite Tuesday night. They are worried there’s a lack of adequate security and they are confused if their child’s school will have a counselor in the building.

“Younger parents with someone like a four-year-old or someone who’s just going into kindergarten, those are the ones I think who are going to head for the suburbs,” said parent Garth Connor.

Teachers returned back to the classroom on Tuesday as they prepare for a school year unlike any other. At Bridesburg Elementary, teacher and union representative Vicky Hall tells us there’s no longer a guidance counselor and there will be as many as 36 kids in some classrooms.

“As of June, our classes in second and third grade were already overcrowded and we have new children coming in,” said Hall.

The teachers contract expired on Saturday and in negotiations with the district, the two sides appear far apart.

The district is seeking about $100 million in concessions from the teachers union, which includes cuts to their pay and changes in their seniority rules.

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