Supt. Hite nixes plan to change school transit pass policy

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William Hite is now backing off a somewhat controversial plan to save money.

At the School Reform Commission's first meeting of the new school year on Thursday, Dr. Hite withdrew his proposal to change which students can get SEPTA transit passes.

The old rule restricted anyone living within a mile and half their school and Dr. Hite wanted to increase that to two miles.

Now, the old limitation will stand, meaning students living less than a mile and half, will have to walk, or find their own transportation.

This comes amid word of a new report finding that conditions in Philadelphia's classrooms are bad and could soon get a lot worse.

The report, spearheaded by State Senator Vincent Hughes, is a sobering picture of education in the city.

It details schools without guidance counselors, or gym teachers, unsanitary bathrooms and overcrowded classrooms.

At a press conference in Spring Garden on Thursday, one teacher shared how budget cuts have affected his school.

"At Kelly we went from having a nurse five days a week to only having her three days a week so they could not get sick on Tuesdays or Thursdays," said Steve Flemming, John B. Kelly Elementary School.

Classes are set to open on September 8th but they'll do so with many cutbacks.

Several schools will be cleaned less frequently and fewer school safety officers will be on the job.
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