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NPR Reports on Philadelphia Schools' Budget Woes

NPR reported recently on the Philadelphia school district's very real struggles in light of budget crunches. Class sizes are exceptionally large and basic school supplies are lacking.

Matthew Stanski, the district's chief financial officer said to NPR that "only 36 cents out of every dollar goes to kids and classrooms. A huge chunk of money — $727 million — goes to charter schools, which compete with traditional public schools for resources in Philadelphia. Health care costs take up another $117 million every year." Pension obligations take additional money out of the budget.

This school year, the district has been so short of cash, [former principal Marjorie] Neff says the commission had no choice but to cancel the contract with teachers to save money. As part of that action, the district will ask teachers to contribute to their own health insurance premiums.

At Central High, one of Philadelphia's top performing schools, Principal Tim McKenna says his kids have been hit hard. In the last two years, the school has lost 12 teachers and five counselors. This fall, his parents have had to pay for paper the school could not afford.

"Parents come to me. Students come to me. They're upset with the level of service they've been getting," says McKenna to NPR reporter Claudio Sanchez.

Read or listen to the full story and comment below.


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