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Parents And Public School Advocates Voice Their Displeasure With School District’s Plans

Pictured: Sabra Townsend
(credit: Mike Dunn)

Pictured: Sabra Townsend
(credit: Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Parents and public school advocates say they’re not at all pleased with the School District’s plans for $45 million dollars recently released by Governor Corbett and they gave City Council an earful this past week.

For technical reasons, a city council committee had to approve the transfer of the $45 million dollars from Harrisburg to the School District, and that gave those who are unhappy with the District’s spending priorities a chance to sound off at the committee hearing.

Sabra Townsend of East Oak Lane said, “My point is that every single school should have a nurse, a counselor, the proper teachers, the proper resources. And I think it’s up to us to make sure that the moneys that are allocated go toward making that happen.”

Townsend, whose son has disabilities, is particularly upset that nurses are not being re-hired with the new money.

“I think it’s egregious for conversations to happen about this $45 million dollars, and gloss over the fact that there is not a nurse in every school.”

Townsend specifically referenced the death of Laporshia Massey in September from asthma complications. The girl’s school has no full-time nurse. A spokesman for the school district, Fernando Gallard, says the $45 million is being used to hire back approximately 400 laid-off teachers, counselors, assistant principals and secretaries.

Gallard says the process of hiring counselors is already underway. He says because nurses were laid off during earlier cutbacks, this money will not be used to bring any of them back.

The hearing was held one day before Mayor Nutter signed off on City Council’s plan to bring the district an extra $50 million in new money through the sale of unused district properties.

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