Phila. schools may cut jobs to close budget gap

April 27, 2011 8:33:34 PM PDT
The Philadelphia School District must close a budget gap of $629-million translating into the loss of thousands of jobs and cuts to key programs.

If the budget proposal is passed, 3,800 total jobs will be lost. 400 would come from the central office and 1,200 of them would be teaching positions.

Full day kindergarten would be replaced by a half day schedule and many early child learning centers would be eliminated.

District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch says the governmental funding cuts are unprecedented.

"Every single decision that the superintendent and our management team made was painful and difficult and none of them were decisions we wanted to make, but we were obligated by law to adopt a balance budget," Masch said.

Sports and music programs will stay, but tough choices must be made.

The reaction from Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Union President Jerry Jordan was: "That is outrageous, it's reprehensible, it's not about the kids and what's good for kids."

Not only are the jobs of many of his members on the line, the district is assuming union concessions will result in $75-million to help close the gap.

"They're wrong about that; that is, as you said, they assume. That is an assumption, it's wrong," Jordan said.

"We would welcome hearing from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, if they have a better way to balance this budget," Masch said.

The complete meeting schedule is as follows:

Southwest segment
Bartram High School
2401 S. 67th St.
6 - 8 pm
Tuesday April 12, 2011

Northwest segment
Roxborough High School
6498 Ridge Ave.
6 - 8 pm
Thursday April 14, 2011

South Central segment
South Philadelphia High School
2101 S. Broad St.
6 - 8 pm
Wednesday May 4, 2011

West segment
High School of the Future
4021 Parkside Ave.
6 - 8 pm
Thursday May 5, 2011

Northeast segment
Lincoln High School
3201 Ryan Ave.
6 - 8 pm
Tuesday May 10, 2011

North Central segment
Temple HealthCare Campus Student Center
3400 N. Broad Street
6 - 8 pm
Thursday May 12, 2011