By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The ravages of the Philadelphia school district budget cuts came into sharp focus, today, at city council hearings on the state of the schools.

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District officials are promising improvements for at least the next two years.

Councilwoman Helen Gym began the hearings with a set of bleak statistics.

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“There are thousands of children in overcrowded schools with split grades and no nurses, counselors, and subs,” she said.

Then through questions to district officials, Gym elicited another alarming number; more than 5,000 high school students failed to earn state-mandated graduation credits, in basic classes, because of a staffing shortage.

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In a silver lining, of sorts, the teacher shortage has been partly responsible for an operating surplus this year, which is helping the district project enough funding for the next two years to hire a nurse and counselor for every school, though its chief financial officer warned after that, the district may again be looking at cuts.