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Philadelphia Schools To Open Amid Budget Chaos

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

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

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It will be an extraordinary opening day for Philadelphia public schools Monday morning for all the wrong reasons.

The school district’s financial problems are generating a host of other challenges as well.

Thousands of students will be going to new schools for the first time, because the district closed their old schools to save money.

Teachers are working without a contract after being asked to accept steep pay cuts and work rule changes.

And the district has yet to resolve a $300-Million funding shortfall, meaning some schools are opening with no nurses, support staff, counselors and classes of more than 40 students.

“Not only have we never seen anything like what’s going to happen in Philadelphia public schools when they open this year, we actually have never even heard of another school district engaging in such a deliberate neglectful opening for school,” School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said.

Gallard says the district is ready:

“Principals, teachers; they’re all going to be in place. There’s going to be a teacher in every classroom.”

He agrees the situation is serious but says the district is hoping for give-backs from teachers to fund rehiring some staff.

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