PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Thousands of Philadelphia students return to school Monday and their teachers are hard at work preparing for the new school year, despite dire budget cuts.
Heather Lincoln's classroom is basically doubling in size this year. Next week 38 students will pack her room.
"Our morale here is better than you think. I mean the teachers are excited for the first day of school, eager for the students to come in, but we understand the problems we are going to face," said Lincoln.
Nebinger School principal Anh Brown says her discretionary budget for supplies and other items is $2,000 which is about 2 percent of what it should be.
"I have teachers asking me for certain things and I have to say, 'I don't have the money,'" said Brown.
She says the number of the school's noon time aides that supervise lunch, have been cut in half.
"I won't be able to get in the classroom as much as I did last year because I have to monitor lunches," said Brown.
However the school's teachers are getting resourceful.
Leslie Grace is starting an art program at the school.
There was no money for supplies so she raised more than $4,000 through Donorschoose.org.
"I feel a moral obligation to carry on and get through it," said Grace.
Brown says community groups have been pitching in to help. On Friday, several stacks of paper were delivered.
However she says the school is woefully underfunded.
The electricity is outdated inside the building, so portable air conditioning units can't be used.
The school is sweltering but the staff continues to soldier on.
"To them, they never want the students, nor do I, want the students to feel they are in the crisis," said Brown.
The Philadelphia School District's new school year officially starts Monday, September 8th.