Philadelphia schools to become 'glorified day-cares' as nearly 4,000 jobs cut in 'Doomsday' plan
Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said during a news conference Friday that at least 3,783 employees will be mailed pink slips because of the Pennsylvania city’s purported financial crisis. At least 676 teachers, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, and 1,202 noontime aides will be affected, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a total Hite said means the “schools will just be empty shells.”
“These employees are more than numbers: these are people, professionals, who play important roles in the lives of thousands of students throughout the city,” he told reporters, adding the cuts are “nothing less than catastrophic for our schools and students.”
The exodus will likely continue, with hundreds of jobs still expected to be eliminated before school starts again in September. Guidance counselors, office secretaries, football coaches and other administrators will no longer walk the halls as district officials cut social programs in a mad scramble to fill the city’s $304 million deficit.
Philadelphia Mayor Anthony Nutter claimed he was searching for more ways to raise revenue and save the schools, but recently committed over $400 million of the city's budget for the construction of a brand new prison. The decision has drawn the ire of the community, where demonstrations have taken place to protest the mayor’s apparent disregard citizens’ wishes.
“Today we are seeing what a ‘doomsday’ budget looks like for Philadelphia’s schoolchildren, and how our city’s educators are paying the price for a deficit we didn’t create,” Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told the Philadelphia Daily News.
“The school district will say these layoffs are a tough but necessary part of financial rightsizing,” he went on. “We say that these cuts are an unconscionable action that deprives children of sports, art, music, counselors, librarians, nurses and other vital programs and services.”
The non-profit Public Citizens for Children and Youth agreed, predicting the budget would barely make school worth attending because “Even books and paper will be cut from schools.” Organization director Donna Cooper told the Inquirer cuts will turn “schools into glorified day-care centers.”