Phila. School District, parents, students plead for more money

April 29, 2013 3:15:15 PM PDT
Philadelphia school leaders are asking City Council for tens of millions of dollars in funding. Meanwhile, parents, teachers, and students marched Monday morning in support of additional funding for schools.

Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite says they can't spend money they don't have, adding this $300-million budget gap has created some harsh scenarios, and is hoping to secure more money from the city and the state.

Leslie Tyler, co-president of Meredith Home and School Association tells Action News, "They expect us to fund the schools with bake sales and fundraisers, and we can't bake enough brownies and cookies to buy nurses."

So from their Queen Village school, a group from Meredith Elementary marched up Market Street to City Hall protesting the new school budget.

Principal Cindy Farlino explains, "We got our budgets. Every school in the city - no secretaries, no counselors, zero for books. We can't operate this way. Support staff is very key in making schools very safe for our kids."

Groups from other district schools arrived to City Hall all morning, signs in hand. That's where Superintendent Hite addressed City Council regarding a $304-million shortfall in this year's proposed operating budget. He's asking for $60-million from the city, and more funds from the state, without which he sees a grim reality.

"While this is the necessary and responsible course of action, if these budgets become reality, they will substantially lower the quality of education in our district's schools," said Dr. Hite.

Students and parents alike believe this is an issue that affects everyone.

Second grader Isabella Mintz tells us, "Schools make a better community. And the better the school is, the better the community is."

Parent Laura Blau says, "So when Meredith is suffering, then it's clear that every school is suffering even more."

There is an opportunity Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. for people to express their opinions on the budget to City Council at City Hall. Also, parents tell Action News that they are making plans in the coming weeks to march on the state capitol.