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2013 IN REVIEW: Philadelphia School Budget On The Ropes

Superintendent William Hite at a City Council hearing on his school closure plan. (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Superintendent William Hite at a City Council hearing on his school closure plan. (credit: Mike DeNardo)

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) –  It was another tumultuous year for the Philadelphia School District.  The school district’s budget crisis cast a shadow over everything it did in 2013.

Facing a $305-million shortfall, schools superintendent William Hite (in photo) presented what became known as a “doomsday” budget.

“It falls catastrophically short,” he admitted at the time.

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Hite said that without labor concessions and more city and state money, the district could afford little more than a principal and teachers in Philadelphia schools. Nearly four thousand pink slips went out to teachers, counselors, and school support staff.

Parents were outraged.

“Does anyone in this room actually expect a 21st-century school to function without a secretary?”

“The impact of these cuts is unacceptable.  And in many ways, unfathomable.”

A funding package cobbled together in Harrisburg allowed the district to restore art, music and athletics, and hire back some counselors.

But as the year ended, the city’s teachers union was still working without a new contract, there was no deal on concessions – and the district warned of a deficit that could top $400 million next year.

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