Anger, frustration over Philadelphia schools funding crisis

PHILADELPHIA - August 8, 2013

There is anger, even outrage, that the school district, unions and government have allowed the financial crisis to reach this point.

"That's really hard to believe for a developed nation," said Allison of South Philadelphia. "This is the United States of America. I mean, this is a major city."

"I think they probably should get their act together," said Olivia Hamilton Jones of South Philadelphia. "It seems to be a little bit excessive that they waited this long."

One grandfather of a school district student said it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out a new source of income to address the $50 million shortfall. Why not sell some of those 26 school buildings that were just closed?

"Get rid of them people," said Richard Cassetti. "Get somebody up there who knows, get some of these parents up there whose kids are in school."

High school junior Donovan Phimmosone finds it hard to believe that this crisis has been allowed to go this far.

"I'm surprised it's gone this long," he said. "This is Philadelphia. We're a great city and we can do anything we put our mind to."

High school senior Valen Medina worries about how this mess could affect her most important year in school.

"I mean, I would lose my senior year," she said. "It's my last year, like the prom and everything else. Looking for colleges, filling out applications. . . ."

The school district has asked the teachers' union for $133 million in concessions.

But the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan contends there is just one solution to the problem.

"We need to have those members, almost 4000 of them who were laid off, restored in order for schools to be able to operate," said Jordan.

The union and the district agree that although they have been talking since February, they are still very far apart on any kind of deal.

And so that's part of the reason the crisis looms – and the anger among students and parents continues to grow.

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