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Philadelphia Teachers Feel the Pinch of Budget Cuts
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 11, 2013, 04:18 AM   

As reported on the AAE Blog, there is a pension crisis brewing across the country. In large cities including Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, law makers are struggling to find long term solutions to chronically underfunded pension and benefit accounts. As previously stated, Milwaukee and Cleveland have devised plans to spread the burden of teacher pensions on taxpayers, teachers, and the school districts, while Philadelphia has yet to come up with a feasible plan. Due to inactivity, teachers across the city were laid off this week due to budget cuts. 

Today, the Associated Press released news of Philadelphia sending out nearly 3,800 pink slips to employees, ranging from assistant principals to secretaries. Additionally, the School Reform Commission approved a $2.4 billion spending plan that eliminates art, music, and athletics from schools.

Parent Activist Helen Gym called the vote to adopt the new budget "an immoral act against our children and our city."

These layoffs and budget cuts are a result of the struggle to cover pensions, health care contributions, and state aid. The state's largest district, serving a total of 204,000 traditional and charter school students, will have to absorb the losses in the coming school year.

In total, almost 700 teachers, 130 assistant principals, 300 secretaries, and 1,200 noontime aides are now unemployed due to the layoffs.

Superintendent William Hite sent an email to staff explaining his frustration with the financial situation. "These people are more than numbers and positions. They play essential roles in the lives of our students, often doing jobs beyond title," Hite additionally tweeted after the announcement. "Without them, our schools will be empty shells."

Officials are lobbying state and city lawmakers for more funding. Similarly, students, staff and education advocates have protested the "doomsday" budget.

What do you think of Philadelphia's budget cuts? Do you think other states and districts could be heading down the same path?
Comment below.


Originally posted by Ruthie at AAE.

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