Parent, student, teacher anger over Phila. school closings

PHILADELPHIA - December 14, 2012

RELATED: See the list of schools to be closed

Many in the community are trying to do everything they can to stop that from happening.

Monday night, upset parents, teachers and students came face to face with Philadelphia school district administrators at Sayre High School in West Philadelphia.

"You do not communicate or connect with the public," said one angry attendee.

"Half of you have probably been sitting in that same office down at 440 for the last couple of years and y'all want to wait until now to close some schools down," said Robeson High School student John Hoggas.

Among the concerns: plans to close 37 schools, shuffle thousands of children and layoffs to save $28 million a year and cover a growing deficit.

"I'm not sure we can educate these kids on a shoestring budget. I'm certain we shouldn't have to," said Robeson High School teacher Andrew Saltz.

Most of the people who attended this meeting to explain the district's plan and reasons were from Paul Robeson High and University City High, which are slated to merge with rival schools.

"If you care about the students, why are you mixing West Philadelphia and University City together? We fight all the time. If you put us in those schools, some kids are going to be murdered," said one student.

"The world isn't Paul Robeson. The world isn't University City. The world isn't West Philly. We have to live together," responded Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey.

From security to education, there were plenty of worries but mostly anger about how it came to this.

"We do not have the resources we used to have. We used to be able to take the empty seats we have and provide for those. We no longer have the ability to do that," said Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

Robeson junior Dorian McKinney and her mother feel their words weren't heard.

"I won't be able to get the special programs I need for myself to learn. This is my livelihood, this is my education and they don't care. That's how I feel," said Dorian.

As for security, the chief inspector says security measures will be put into place and there were special considerations taken when it comes to mergers.

Over the next two evenings, there will be two more city wide meetings like the one held Monday night. Tuesday's will be held at Edison High School at 6:00pm.

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